An immunohistologic complement fixation test has been used in an effort to detect immune complexes in sections of kidney from rats injected with rabbit anti-rat kidney serum and in sections of biopsied kidneys from four humans with membranous glomerulonephritis. Sections of the rat and human kidneys were treated with fluorescein-conjugated anti-rabbit globulin or antihuman globulin respectively. Adjacent sections in each case were incubated first with fresh guinea pig serum and then in a second step were treated with fluorescein-conjugated antibodies against fixed guinea pig complement to detect sites of fixation of the complement. It was demonstrated that the sites of rabbit globulin in glomerular capillary walls of the rat kidneys and the sites of localized human globulin in thickened glomerular capillary walls and swollen glomerular endothelial cells of the human kidneys were the same sites in which guinea pig complement was fixed in vitro. It was concluded from these studies that rabbit nephrotoxic antibodies localize in rat glomeruli in complement-fixing antigen-antibody complexes. Furthermore, it was concluded that the deposits of human globulin in the glomeruli of the human kidneys behaved like antibody globulin in complement-fixing antigen-antibody complexes. The significance of demonstrating complement-fixing immune complexes in certain diseased tissues is discussed in regard to determination of the causative role of allergic reactions in disease.

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