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December 1952

INFECTION AS CAUSE OF FOLIC ACID DEFICIENCY AND MEGALOBLASTIC ANEMIA: Experimental Induction of Megaloblastic Anemia by Turpentine Abscess

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Pediatrics, College of Medical Sciences, University of Minnesota.

AMA Am J Dis Child. 1952;84(6):718-728. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1952.02050060056004

A SURVEY of histories of infants with megaloblastic anemia reveals that infection and ascorbic acid deficiency are common features of possible etiologic significance.1 A megaloblastic type of anemia usually implies a deficiency of vitamin B12 or folic (pteroylglutamic) acid compounds; so some relation of infection and ascorbic acid deficiency to the metabolism of these compounds might be anticipated.

We have explored the relation of ascorbic acid deficiency to the development of folic acid deficiency, experimentally 2 and in megaloblastic anemia in infancy.3 All the evidence indicates that the requirement for folic acid is increased by a deficiency of ascorbic acid, especially when so severe as to lead to scurvy.4 This mechanism may be of importance in many infants with megaloblastic anemia, but in most infants megaloblastic anemia developed after a series of infections, even though the intake of ascorbic acid was unquestionably adequate.

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