The fate of three proteins, crystalline hen's egg albumin, crystalline bovine plasma albumin, and human plasma γ-globulin, was traced after intravenous injection into mice. This was done by preparing frozen sections of quick-frozen tissue, allowing what foreign protein might be present in the section to react with homologous antibody labelled with fluorescein, and examining the section under the fluorescence microscope. By this means, which employs the serological specificity of the protein as a natural "marker," all three of these proteins were found in the cells of the reticulo-endothelial system, the connective tissue, the vascular endothelium, the lymphocytes of spleen and lymph node, and the epithelium of the kidney tubules, the liver, and in very small amounts in the adrenal. The central nervous system was not studied.
All three persisted longest in the reticulo-endothelial system and the connective tissue, and in the doses employed egg white (10 mg.) was no longer detectable after 1 day, bovine albumin (10 mg.) after 2 days, and human γ-globulin (4 mg.) after 6 days, although in a somewhat higher dose (10 mg.) human γ-globulin persisted longer than 8 days. Egg albumin differed from the others in not being detectable in the cells of the renal glomerulus.
It was found that each of the three proteins was present in the nuclei of each cell type enumerated above, often in higher concentration than in the cytoplasm. Further, some of the nuclei not only contained antigen, soon after injection, but were also surrounded by a bright ring associated with the nuclear membrane. By means of photographic records under the fluorescence microscope of sections stained for antigen, and direct observation under the light microscope of the same field subsequently stained with hematoxylin and eosin, it could be determined that the antigen was not adsorbed to chromatin or nucleoli, but was apparently in solution in the nuclear sap.