, Volume 6, Issue 7, pp 458–465 | Cite as

The effect of undernutrition on the development of myelin in the rat central nervous system

  • Marvin A. Fishman
  • Prema Madyastha
  • Arthur L. Prensky


Newborn rats were segregated into litters of 6 and 22 pups. Undernourished groups were maintained for 21 and 53 days at which time a portion of each group was sacrificed and the remainder refed until 121 days. The amount of myelin isolated from the central nervous system was decreased in nutritionally deprived animals but there was little change in its chemical composition or intereference in the normal chemical maturation of the membrane. The only consistent change was a reduction in phosphatidyl ethanolamine plasmalogen. This deficit tended to be corrected by nutritional rehabilitation and was most complete in those animals refed ad lib. diets for the longest time periods prior to sacrifice. The relatively normal chemical composition of myelin obtained from undernourished animals differs from changes described in myelin membranes isolated from patients with destructive or degenerative diseases of the nervous system. This seems to be further evidence that the reduction in myelination in undernutrition is a result of decreased synthesis of the membrane.


Phosphatidyl Choline Lipid Class Brain Weight Proteolipid Protein Myelin Membrane 
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Copyright information

© American Oil Chemists’ Society 1971

Authors and Affiliations

  • Marvin A. Fishman
    • 1
  • Prema Madyastha
    • 1
  • Arthur L. Prensky
    • 1
  1. 1.St. Louis Children’s HospitalWashington University School of MedicineSt. Louis

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