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November 24, 1951


JAMA. 1951;147(13):1284. doi:10.1001/jama.1951.03670300098017

Numerous investigators1 have described an increased resistance to infectious disease due to undernourishment. In order to throw light on the probable mechanism of this subnutritional immunity, Kuna2 and associates of the Veterans Administration Hospital, Staten Island, N. Y., studied the differences between in vivo phagocytosis in adequately fed and in partially starved laboratory animals. The work was done on adult albino rats. Prior to starvation each rat had received a plentiful supply of Rockland Farm "rat pellets," supplemented by greens. Phagocytic activity in rats deprived of food for 36 hours was compared with that of well-fed animals.

To make the tests 20 cc. of a standard suspension of nonhemolytic Staphylococcus aureus was injected intraperitoneally into each rat. Peritoneal samples were removed two to four hours later and examined for cellular content and phagocytic activity. The average number of leukocytes per cubic millimeter of peritoneal fluid was practically identical