Blackwell Publishing Journal Backfiles 1879-2005
Abstract— Seventeen monkeys (M. nemestrina and M. fascicularis) aged 10 months to about 5 yr were divided into two groups and fed either an adequate protein diet (20% casein) or a low-protein diet (2% casein). The diets were supplied to the animals in restricted amount (200 g/animal in two daily rations). In one experiment, the malnourished animals were initially fed a diet containiing 8 per cent protein and the protein content of the diet was gradually reduced over a period of 9 months, to 2 per cent. After about 3 months on the 2 per cent protein diet, the malnourished monkeys showed growth failure, severe anorexia, peri-ocular oedema, tremors of the head and limbs, atrophy of several visceral organs, fatty liver, hypoalbuminaemia, and depressed serum levels of many essential amino acids with an elevation of the ratio of non-essential to essential amino acids. These features are consistent with protein-calorie malnutrition. Examination of the brains revealed significant alterations in the levels of glycerophosphoethanolamine (—40 per cent), glutamic acid (—25 per cent), histidine (+230 per cent), homocamosine (+185 per cent), 3-methyl-histidine (+147 per cent), lysine (+55 per cent), phenylalanine (+33 per cent) and tyrosine (+26 per cent) in comparison to findings on the well-fed monkeys. The possible implications of elevated cerebral contents of homocarnosine in malnourished monkeys are discussed in the light of several reported human cases in whom neurological disorders are associated with increased histidine-containing dipeptides in the brain, CSF, blood and urine.
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