A study of the pneumococcidal-promoting action of the serum of lobar pneumonia patients, secured from 4 to 48 hours after the onset of the disease, has revealed the fact that in the majority of instances the serum possessed the power to promote killing of the homologous pneumococcus, isolated in different instances from the lung, blood, and sputum. While in some instances this action was slight, in others it was present to as great a degree as in normal individuals and persisted as long as 48 hours or more after the beginning of the disease. The variations observed from case to case were not related to the extent of the pneumonic lesion or to the virulence of the several pneumococcus strains but appeared to depend on differences in individual human beings in respect to the natural antipneumococcus properties of their blood and their reaction to the invading microorganism. A constant relationship was found to exist between the concentration of immune properties in the serum and blood invasion. In the presence of a well marked pneumococcidal-promoting power pneumococci were not found in the blood stream, and only when this property was greatly diminished or lost did blood invasion occur.

The findings which are supported by certain previous experimental observations, indicate that lobar pneumonia can occur in the presence of a normal circulating antipneumococcus defense mechanism. From this it is inferred that before pneumococcus growth can be initiated there must be present in the lung local changes of such nature as to provide conditions for the multiplication of pneumococci protected from the pneumococcidal action of the blood. Suppositions as to the nature of these changes and the establishment of the pneumonic lesion are discussed.

This content is only available as a PDF.