One of the earliest posts on this blog was a Harry Potter movie review. So it is only fitting that with the final installment of the Harry Potter octology set to release in a few days, the Pottermaniacs like me are getting worked up and to celebrate that spirit, I decided to log in this post. And just in case you are too much of a Muggle, here is a snap of Golpalott’s Third Law a bit of background knowledge that you might be needing to just hit the right note with this particular post:
“The antidote for a blended poison will be equal to more than the sum of the antidotes for each of the separate components.“
Which brings us to the question in view:
What is common between Golpalott’s Third Law and Corynebacterium toxins?
Gram Stain showing Corynebacterium diohtheriae.
The difference between the amount of Toxin that will exactly neutralize one unit of anti toxin and that, which, when added to one unit of anti toxin, will leave one lethal dose of the toxin is greater than one lethal dose of the toxin. That is, it is necessary to mix more than one lethal unit of toxin to a neutral mixture of the toxin and anti toxin to make the mixture lethal again. This is known as Ehrlich’s phenomenon, and this discrepancy can be explained by the presence of varying amounts of toxoids in the toxin preparations and also by the variations in the ability of the anti-toxin to neutralize the toxin by combining with it.
The reduction of the neutralizing effects of an anti-toxin when toxin is added to it in divided doses rather than adding the whole amount of toxin in one step is known as the Danysz Phenomenon. According to a seminal review in this field almost seven decades ago (1): “In 1901, Danysz observed that less toxin is neutralized by a given amount of antitoxin when the toxin is added in steps rather than all at once. Danysz’s original explanation for this phenomenon was simply that toxin and antitoxin may combine in more than one proportion depending upon their relative concentrations.”
Here is some relevant text from the paper. For the full PDF, go check out the Link in the reference below:
A. M. Pappenheimer, Jr. (1942). Studies on Diphtheria Toxin and Its Reaction with Antitoxin J Bacteriol., 43 (3), 273-289