Nutrition and Cellular Growth of the Brain

  • Myron Winick
  • Brian L. G. Morgan


The most common method employed in altering the nutritional status of neonatal rats is to vary the number of pups nursing from a single mother. The normal rat litter consists of from 8 to 12 pups; a nursing group of 10 animals has arbitrarily been considered normal. Malnutrition is imposed by increasing the size of the nursing group to 18 animals and overnutrition by decreasing the size to 3 animals. But in addition to altering the nutrition, this changes the amount of maternal stimulation available to each pup. More recently, other methods of inducing undernutrition have been employed. Protein restriction in the lactating mother reduces the quantity of milk produced without altering its composition. Allowing the animals to nurse for only a single 8-hr period per day also reduces the quantity of milk consumed. In a combination of these approaches, protein-restricted mothers have been given an increased number of animals to nurse. All these methods produce a total caloric restriction as well as a restriction in individual nutrients, the most important of which is probably protein. So far, all the methods have had comparable effects on brain growth, and we will therefore examine them together.


Cellular Growth Dendritic Arborization Sialidase Activity Brain Ganglioside Nursing Group 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1979

Authors and Affiliations

  • Myron Winick
    • 1
  • Brian L. G. Morgan
    • 1
  1. 1.Institute of Human NutritionCollege of Physicians and Surgeons of Columbia UniversityNew YorkUSA

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