Effects of perinatal malnutrition on lipid composition of neural tissues from rhesus monkeys

O. W. Portman, M. Alexander, M. Neuringer, M. Novy, R. Illingworth, H. Uno

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


The effects of two forms of early deprivation on the composition of neural tissues were assessed. Female rhesus monkeys (Macaca mulatta) were fed a low protein diet prior to conception or from gestational day 50 until the infants were delivered by Caesarean section at gestational day 195, 5 weeks after birth. In another group of pregnant rhesus monkeys, the bridging vessels between the two discs of the bipartite placenta were ligated at gestational day 90, thereby reducing the functional placental mass; the infants were delivered at gestational day 155 and also fed a low protein diet until day 195. Control mothers and their infants were fed nutritionally adequate diets throughout. At gestational day 195 the infant body and total brain weights were significantly lower in nine monkeys of the protein deprivation and six from the placental ligation groups than in nine controls. The most marked reduction in weight was in the 'brain stem' which here included the corpus callosum, corpus striatum, and external capsule. Significant weight reductions were also found in the cerebellum of both deprived groups and the cerebellum of the protein deficient group. The concentrations of cerebrosides and sulfatides were 20 to 40 times greater in the pons than in cortical gray matter, reflecting their presence specifically in myelin. Their concentrations in brain tissue were not affected by the experimental conditions, but total content was significantly reduced in the brain stem of both deprived groups. The concentrations of five different classes of phospholipids were lower in the sciatic nerves of protein-deprived monkeys than in controls.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2228-2235
Number of pages8
JournalUnknown Journal
Issue number12
StatePublished - 1977

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Nutrition and Dietetics


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