1. This investigation deals with a study of the anemia of protein deficiency in Rhesus monkeys.
2. Protein deficiency was induced in 17 rhesus monkeys. Seven animals, given a protein-rich diet, served as controls. The diets of both the groups were identical in all respects, except protein. All animals were tube-fed to ensure adequate caloric intake.
Hematocrit, hemoglobin, erythroctye count, serum iron, serum iron binding capacity, plasma iron tolerance curves, and iron absorption using the Fe59 fecal recovery method were studied before and at intervals of the experiment in both deficient and control groups.
Protein-deficient monkeys consistently developed normocytic normochromic anemia of moderate severity. A striking fall in serum iron binding capacity, total proteins and albumin with a rise in gamma globulin was observed in all deficient animals. A significant and comparable fall in serum iron was also observed. The Fe59 absorption was depressed and there was flattening of plasma iron tolerance curves. Two deficient animals, refed a high protein diet, showed reversal of all these changes. The control animals did not show any of these changes.
The mechanism of anemia and decreased iron absorption observed in the protein-deficient animals and the relevance of these findings to those in Kwashiorkor are discussed.