Neil L. Kao, MD
To the Editors: The silver anniversary of the discovery of immunoglobulin E (IgE) in 1991 prompted me to learn its history (1). Because even some of my immunology colleagues were not familiar with how and why immunoglobulins were named. I thought Annals readers might also be interested.
In 1890, von Behring and Kitasato (2) recognized a specific transferrable neutralizing substance in the blood of animals immunized with tetanus toxin. Later these "antibodies" were found to be produced against most foreign proteins. In 1939, soon after electrophoresis was used to separate the proteins in plasma, Tiselius and Kabat (3) localized the
Kao NL. How Immunoglobulins Were Named. Ann Intern Med. ;117:445. doi: 10.7326/0003-4819-117-5-445_2
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Published: Ann Intern Med. 1992;117(5):445.
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