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antitoxin,any of a group of antibodies formed in the body as a response to the introduction of poisonous products, or toxinstoxin,
poison produced by living organisms. Toxins are classified as either exotoxins or endotoxins. Exotoxins are a diverse group of soluble proteins released into the surrounding tissue by living bacterial cells. Exotoxins have specific reaction sites in the host; e.g.
..... Click the link for more information. . By introducing small amounts of a specific toxin into the healthy body, it is possible to stimulate the production of antitoxin so that the body's defenses are already established against invasion by the bacteria or other organisms that produce the toxin. See immunityimmunity,
ability of an organism to resist disease by identifying and destroying foreign substances or organisms. Although all animals have some immune capabilities, little is known about nonmammalian immunity.
..... Click the link for more information. .
An antibody that will combine with and generally neutralize a particular toxin. When the manifestations of a disease are caused primarily by a microbial toxin, the corresponding antitoxin, if available in time, may have a pronounced prophylactic or curative effect. Apart from this, the other properties of an antitoxin are those of the antibody family (lgG, IgA, IgM) to which it belongs. See Antibody, Biologicals, Immunoglobulin
Antitoxins have been developed for nearly all microbial toxins. Diphtheria, tetanus, botulinus, gas gangrene, and scarlatinal toxins are important examples. Antitoxins may be formed in humans as a result of the disease or the carrier state, or following vaccination with toxoids, and these may confer active immunity. The status of this can be evaluated through skin tests, or by titration of the serum antitoxin level. See Botulism, Diphtheria, Immunity, Toxin-antitoxin reaction