For the neutralization of the virus of poliomyelitis by antibodies, active complement is not required.
In carrying out immunity tests it is imperative to choose a virus of established grade of virulence and to make adequate control observations.
The neutralizing substances pass from the blood of actively immune monkeys into the cerebrospinal fluid when the permeability of the meningeal-choroidal complex is increased by an aseptic inflammation such as that induced by an intraspinal injection of horse serum.
The immunity bodies in effective neutralizing quantities can be detected in the cerebrospinal fluid as early as 12 hours and as late as 48 hours after the intraspinal injection of horse serum. Doubtless the passage continues as long as the inflammation persists.
This ability of the neutralizing substances to pass from the blood into the cerebrospinal fluid under conditions of inflammation doubtless plays an important part in arresting the multiplication of the virus on which the cessation and restoration of the poliomyelitic processes depend. The widespread involvement in the inflammatory conditions of the meninges, choroid plexus, and substance of the nervous organs, accompanied by severe lesions of the blood vessels in the last structures especially, opens the way widely for the passage of antibodies into the cerebrospinal fluid, whence all parts of the nervous tissues are reached, and also, probably, for direct transudation into the affected parts of the spinal cord and brain. The neutralization of the virus on which the continuance of the active pathological process depends is thus readily accomplished.
Under these circumstances the use of an alien specific immune serum to anticipate the action of the individual's own immunity products appears logical, while the employment of normal serum has no basis in experiment and would seem not to offer any therapeutic advantage whatever.