The effect of protein-free and starvation diets on the migration of cells from the crypts onto and up the villi of the rat ileum was studied. Rats starved for 3, 7, or 10 days or fed a protein-free diet (PFD) for 3, 7, or 11 wk were injected with thymidine-3H and sacrificed at timed intervals. The time required for the labeled cells to first appear on the villi of experimental animals was longer than in the controls. This was the result of an elongated cycle in the protein-depleted animals and a lengthening of the maturation period in both the starved and protein-depleted animals. Determination of the distance which labeled cells had migrated up the villi in control and experimental animals, after thymidine-3H injection, indicated that cells in animals starved for 7 days migrated more rapidly than those in the fed controls, while those of 10-day starved animals moved more slowly. The cells of animals fed PFD for 3 wk migrated up the villi more rapidly, those of animals depleted for 7 wk migrated at the same time rate, and those of 11-wk PFD animals migrated more slowly than the fed controls. There is apparently no correlation between the cell cycle time in the crypt cells and the rate of migration of cells up the villus.

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