27 August, 2008

Lysozyme and Dr. Fleming

Photo:  Lysozyme tablets extracted from Egg-white.

Lysozyme(tablet, powder and syrup) have been , still, 
prescribed by doctors in Japan.  It is an enzyme which 
is discovered by Dr. Alexander Fleming in 1922.  
He described ------

              The lysozyme was first noticed during some investigation made 
              on a patient suffering from coryza. The nasal secretion from this
              patient was cultivated daily on blood agar plates, and for the first 
              three days of the infection there was no growth, with exception 
              an occasional staphylococcus colony.
             The culture made from the nasal mucus on the fourth day showed 
             in 24 hours a large number of small colonies which, on examination, 
             proved to be large gram-positive cocci----   The microbe has not 
             been exactly identified but for the purposes of this communication 
             it may be alluded to as the  Micrococcus lysodeiktics.

             -----  These two preliminary experiments clearly demonstrate 
             the very powerful inhibitory and lytic action which the nasal mucus 
             has upon the M. lysodeikticus. It will be shown later that this power 
             is shared by most of the tissue and secretions of the human body,
             by the tissues of other animals, by vegetable tissues, and, to very
             marked degree, by egg-white.

Ref) Alexander Fleming: The Man and the Myth. Oxford University Press. 

Later studies showed that the pathogenic bacteria, such as 
staphylococci, streptococci and E. coli, did not lysis by this 
enzyme.   Cat have few lysozyme in tear and gastro-intestinal 
tube, and Sheep have no lysozyme in tear and intestine. 
However, these animals are healthy.  Thus lysozyme is not the 
major defense substances against bacterias.

Any questions: write to Keiji Hagiwara, MD