A German bacteriologist, Emil Adolf von Behring, demonstrated in 1890 that a guinea pig previously injected with a sublethal dose of diphtheria toxin could survive subsequent injections of otherwise lethal doses of that toxin. Further, von Behring showed that this immunity could be transferred to a second, nonexposed animal by injections of serum from the immunized guinea pig. He concluded that the immunized animal had chemicals in its serum—which he called antibodies—that were responsible for the immunity. He also showed that these antibodies conferred immunity only to diphtheria infections; the antibodies were specific in their actions. It was later learned that antibodies are proteins produced by a particular type of lymphocyte.
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This ebook provides an introductory explanation of the workings of the human body, with an effort to draw connections between the body systems and explain their interdependencies. A framework for the book is homeostasis and how the body maintains balance within each system. This is intended as a first introduction to physiology for a college-level course.