Date of Award

Spring 1947

Document Type



Life & Environmental Sciences

First Advisor

Harry Gelsing


In 1902 Richet and Fortier observed that dogs, which had recovered from the toxic effects of a sublethal dose of actinocongestin, a substance present in the tenacles of Actinaria, succumbed to a second infection of the same substance and quantity. To characterize the lowering of resistance thus evidenced, they coined the phrase, anaphylactic action,... thus calling attention to its antithesis to the prophylactic or protective effects following other forms of treatment.1 What was undoubtedly the same phenomenon had been observed earlier by Magendie in 1839, Koch in 1890, Flexner in 1894, Von Behring in 1899, and by Arlolng and Cournont in 1894. Subsequent to the investigations of Richet and Portier, Arthus, in 1903, discovered the phenomenon which bears his name, i.e., following the rapid absorption of several subcutaneous injections of antigen the subject animal fails to absorb the material, and further injections of the specific antigen “will give rise to a characteristic reaction, involving infiltrations, edema, sterile abcesses, and in severe cases even gangrene”.