The applicability of microcalorimetry to the study of immunological reaction systems incorporating a cellular element has been explored, particularly as a possible alternative parameter to the measurement of histamine release in 'in vitro' immediate hypersensitivity systems involving the interaction of antigen (allergen) with cell (basophil)-bound antibody. Other simpler immunological systems have been investigated, including soluble and particulate (i.e. erythrocyte) antigen-antibody reactions as well as the alkaline denaturation reaction of IgG and the non-immunological release of histamine from rat mast cells. A differential technique was employed throughout, to balance out as far as possible nonspecific heat effects. The heat changes recorded in soluble antigen-antibody systems were readily reproducible, unlike those resulting from erythrocyte-anti-erythrocyte antibody interaction. Preliminary studies revealed the heat changes occurring on reaction of actively and passively sensitised human leucocytes (i.e. basophils) with specific antigen (allergen) to be always endothermic; but the corresponding amounts of histamine liberated specifically were too small to permit a valid comparison with the heat change data. In general, evidence has been obtained to suggest that microcalorimetry could become a useful tool in the investigation of many types of immunological reaction; but there is still scope for refinement of the commercially available instrument, particularly with regard to the close balancing of the thermopiles when precise differential studies are to be undertaken.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Immunology and Allergy