Sterols, such as cholesterol, phytosterol, etc., are present in all animal and vegetable tissues, and play a most important rôle in physiological and pathological processes. For example, it is well known that cholesterol has a powerful influence in aiding complement fixation in sero-diagnosis—it checks the action of lipolytic enzymes and inhibits the hæmolytic action of saponins and cobra venom on erythrocytes. It is an important factor in giving cells their power of holding large quantities of water without losing their peculiar semi-fluid characters and without dissolving. Citron (1) states that 1 c.c. of an emulsion of central nervous system neutralizes three times the fatal dose for mice of botulism toxin and that lecithin and cholesterol act similarly.
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