Extracts of the kidneys of normal rabbits prepared one, two, three, and four days after the intravenous injection of egg-albumin and horse serum have the power to sensitize guinea pigs to a second injection of these proteins. The sensitization by first and second day extracts was constant and intense, that by the third day extracts was less marked and sometimes was not evident, and that by the fourth day extracts was only occasional, and when present was always weak.
Comparative studies of the power of the blood, liver, and kidney to sensitize, indicate that this sensitization depends on the content of foreign protein in the circulating blood and not upon its accumulation or fixation in the tissues of an organ. This opinion is supported by other experiments in which the sensitizing power of the blood and of the extracts of unwashed kidneys was compared with the sensitizing power of extracts of washed kidney.
The weak sensitizing power of washed kidney extract is taken as evidence that foreign proteins of the kinds used are not held in the tissues of the kidney, and if these results may be applied to nephrotoxic proteins, it follows that nephritis is not due to selective and persisting fixation of a protein by the renal cells, but is due to the action of such protein merely during the process of its elimination.
In experimental acute nephritis of the type due to uranium nitrate, the power of sensitization to egg-albumin is prolonged for twenty-four hours, and in the chrornate type for forty-eight hours, thus indicating that in nephritis, of the acute type at least, the elimination of a foreign protein is delayed.
Attempts to study by the same methods the elimination of vegetable and bacterial proteins have failed.