Landsteiner Discovers Human Blood Groups (Great Events from History II: Science and Technology Series)
Article abstract: Landsteiner investigated the chemistry of the immune response and discovered the A-B-O blood groups, the most significant advance toward safe blood transfusions.
Summary of Event
In the late 1800’s, immunology was developing rapidly as scientists examined the various physiological changes associated with bacterial infection. Some pathologists studied the way cells helped the body fight disease; others favored a central role for noncellular, or humoral, factors. In 1886, George Nuttall showed how serum (the fluid remaining after a clot is removed from blood) can be toxic to microorganisms. Similar results were obtained by others, and although debate between advocates of cellular versus humoral immunity continued, most researchers focused on the humoral response to disease. It was during this period that the term “antigen” was used to refer to any substance inducing a reaction against itself by the host organism. “Antibody” referred to the factor in the serum which could react with the foreign substance.
In 1894, Richard Pfeiffer, of the Institute for Infectious Diseases in Berlin, injected cholera into guinea pigs and observed a series of changes in the cholera organisms: loss of mobility, clumping, becoming unstainable, and eventual disappearance....
(The entire section is 1996 words.)
Want to Read More?
Subscribe now to read the rest of this article. Plus get complete access to 30,000+ study guides!