The ability of protein-deficient adult white rats to fabricate anti-sheep cell hemolysin was compared with that of similar animals which had been supplied with high-quality dietary protein or a protein derivative (Amigen) for a few days prior to injection of antigen. The purpose of the experiments was to accomplish repletion of the depleted protein stores in order to enhance the capacity of the antibody-producing cells to synthesize antibody globulin. Hemolysin titers were determined at intervals after injection of antigen and were compared with those obtained in well-nourished control animals simultaneously injected with antigen. The results were as follows:

  1. Protein-repletion of protein-depleted rats by the feeding of high-quality protein, or a hydrolysate of a high quality protein led to a markedly increased output of hemolysin, evident as early as after two days of repletion and pronounced within seven days.

  2. The antibody-producing mechanism of rats is not permanently damaged even after feeding a low-protein ration for 191 days, and may be restored to nearly normal levels by the ingestion of adequate amounts of high-quality protein.

  3. Protein-repletion of protein-depleted rats may give a temporary increase in the rate of protein anabolism, even exceeding the normal rate in rats which have never undergone depletion.

  4. The daily ingestion of 5 mg of ascorbic acid by hypoproteinemic rats exerted no effect upon the output of hemolysin. Experiments are in progress to determine the effect of other vitamins upon production of antibody.


This work was carried on in cooperation with the Committee on Food Research, Research and Development Branch, Military Planning Division, Office of the Quartermaster General. It was aided, also, by the John and Mary R. Markle Foundation, The National Livestock and Meat Board, and the Douglas Smith Foundation for Medical Research of The University of Chicago.

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