Protein deficiency and the growing rat lung. II. Morphometric analysis and morphology

Kalenga, Masendu; Tschanz, Stefan A.; Burri, Peter H. (1995). Protein deficiency and the growing rat lung. II. Morphometric analysis and morphology. Pediatric research, 37(6), pp. 789-795. Nature Publishing Group 10.1203/00006450-199506000-00019

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Effects of protein deficiency during the whole period of postnatal development and intensive growth were studied in the rat lung parenchyma. Dams received a low protein diet as follows: early restriction, 8% casein diet from parturition, and delayed restriction, 12% then 8% casein diet from lactation d 8. After weaning (d 21), early restriction and delayed restriction group rats were maintained on the 8% casein diet until d 49, wherefore they were returned to normal food (18% casein) for 11 wk. Lungs were processed for light and electron microscopic morphometry on d 21, 49, and 126. The diffusion capacity of the lung for O2 (DLO2) was also determined from the morphologic parameters. Volume and surface densities of the parenchymal components of malnourished rats did not consistently differ from controls. Because of lower lung volumes, absolute values, including DLO2, were all significantly decreased. Further, although lung volume growth was less impaired than body growth and thus deviated from the normal allometric relationship, most morphometric parameters paralleled body weight changes. Visually, we detected minor morphologic alterations at d 21 and 49, not necessarily reflected by morphometric data. But, importantly, lung parenchyma appeared mature at weaning despite the growth retardation. Normal refeeding resulted in a striking regrowth of the lung parenchyma. Although early restriction rats did not fully catch up in lung volume, most parenchymal parameters and DLO2 were largely restored in both refed groups.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


04 Faculty of Medicine > Pre-clinic Human Medicine > Institute of Anatomy

UniBE Contributor:

Tschanz, Stefan A., Burri, Peter Hermann


600 Technology > 610 Medicine & health




Nature Publishing Group




Stefan Andreas Tschanz

Date Deposited:

25 Aug 2014 09:10

Last Modified:

05 Dec 2022 14:31

Publisher DOI:


PubMed ID:





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