Introduction and Historical Perspective

  • Toby K. Eisenstein
Conference paper
Part of the Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology book series (AEMB, volume 162)


Various microorganisms have evolved specialized, and in many cases, unique mechanisms for evading host defenses. For organisms such as pneumococci and Haemophilus, the presence of a capsular coat allows the organism to evade phagocytosis and multiply unchecked in the extracellular fluid. The ingestion of the pneumococcus by the pursuing polymorphonuclear leucocyte (PMN) results in the subsequent death of this pathogen in the hydrogen peroxide-filled atmosphere of the phagolysosome. Minute amounts of antibody directed towards the antigenic determinants of the capsular polysaccharide render the pneumococcus an easy target for the PMN. Thus, excellent protection against Streptococcus pneumoniae infection is provided for non-immune animals receiving injections of immune serum.


Streptococcus Pneumoniae Listeria Monocytogenes Historical Perspective Intracellular Pathogen Capsular Polysaccharide 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1983

Authors and Affiliations

  • Toby K. Eisenstein
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Microbiology and ImmunologyTemple University School of MedicinePhiladelphiaUSA

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