The effect of a protein-free diet and starvation on the duration of the rat ileal crypt cell cycle time was studied by Quastler's technique of labeled mitoses. Rats were fed a protein-free diet for 3, 7, or 11 wk or were starved for 7 or 10 days. Progressive protein depletion resulted in a progressive lengthening of the cycle time (GT), due primarily to a lengthening of the synthetic phase (S) of the cycle. The presynthetic gap (G1) was the same as the control value after 3 wk and lower, but not significantly so, due to the large variability, after 11 wk. The duration of the postsynthetic gap (G2) plus mitotic phase (M) was not affected by the diet. As the dietary stress became more severe, the cell cycle also became more variable. Although the GT of rats starved for as long as 10 days was only slightly different from the control, the relative duration of the components of the cycle changed significantly. S and G2 were longer in the starved animals while G1 was of shorter duration.

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