The mechanism by which papain detaches IgG-sensitized erythrocytes from the monocyte surface has been explored in an in vitro assay for the monocyte IgG receptor using red cells quantitatively sensitized with IgG anti-Rh D immunoglobulin. Papain treatment of IgG-sensitized erythrocytes diminished the ability of these cells to bind to the monocyte surface; however, treatment of erythrocytes with papain prior to sensitization with IgG did not inhibit binding, and at papain concentrations is greater than or equal to 38 mug/ml binding was enhanced. IgG receptor activity was not diminished by prior treatment of monolayer cells with papain and was enhanced with high concentrations of papain. These studies suggest that papain detaches erythrocytes from the monocyte surface by virtue of its proteolytic effect on IgG and not by an effect of papain on the D antigen of red cells or the IgG receptor on monocytes.

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