Letter from Florence R. Sabin to Robert S. Cunningham
Sabin wrote to tell Cunningham, a former research fellow, about some new conclusions in her work. Cunningham's lab was
one of the collaborators in the National Tuberculosis Association research effort, headed by Sabin and Dr. William Charles
Number of Image Pages:
2 (149,802 Bytes)
1927-04-06 (April 6, 1927)
Sabin, Florence R.
Cunningham, Robert S.
Original Repository: American Philosophical Society. Library. Florence R. Sabin Papers
Reproduced with permission of Geraldine F. Swan.
At the Rockefeller Institute for Medical Research, 1925-1938
Cunningham, Robert S., #8
April 6, 1927
My dear Dr. Cunningham:
Thanks very much for your letter of April 2nd. That will be very fine. We shall be glad to have our paper come as the discussion
to the chemical work and should like that have a chance to give lantern slides. Our work has culminated in the last two or
three weeks to some very interesting conclusions. The proteid fraction gives a remarkable stimulus to endothelium and we
have some of the most beautiful preparations of lymph glands I have ever seen, with every single endothelial cell in the blood
vessels loaded with fragments of red cells following intestinal hemorrhages. Beside the stimulus to endothelial activity,
there are multiple hemorrhages everywhere and extreme degeneration of the liver. The monocyte curves will be a very beautiful
confirmation of your work on the correlation between monocytes and degenerations of the liver. We shall not try to analyze
that point at all, but the curves show an increase in monocytes about every fourth day, very rhythmically, not at all like
the curve in tuberculosis.
On the other hand, the fat fraction stimulates the epitheloid cells and gives one a most gorgeous display of them everywhere.
They are loaded with fat, which stains with the Ziehl-Nelson technique, giving you a preparation which I believe identifies
every single epitheliod cell. The contrast between the lymph glands with these two different preparations is a complete confirmation
of the clasmatocyte-monocyte idea. Moreover, we have been able to show that the epithelioid cell tends toward the acid reaction,
its range of color being from salmon to carmine; while the color range of the clasmatocyte is, as you know, from red to yellow.
In other words, the inability of the epitheliod cell to deal with fat is probably tied up with the fact that it does not develop
any alkaline reaction. All this I think we will be able to demonstrate quite conclusively.
The preparations give very interesting analyses of the structure of the lymph gland. The endothelium is potentially complete
in the sinuses, but under stimulus endothelial cells drop off here and there, leaving places where the lymphocytes pour out
into the sinuses. It is entirely clear that the monocyte comes not from the endothelium but from the reticulum. The preparations
demonstrate that Aschoff's concept of a reticulo-endothelial system is false, because there is a real functional separation
between the two.
Your last paragraph is certainly impressive and you will have a wonderful time writing it all up. I am going to give the
essentials of the reaction to the fat and proteid at the meetings of the National Academy in Washington during April, and
then again in the discussion at the National Tuberculosis Association.