Ferrokinetic studies were performed in three copper-deficient swine and the results have been compared with similar studies in 18 normal pigs. The mean value for the plasma iron turnover rate in the deficient swine was 1.76 mg./kg. day; for the red cell iron incorporation rate, 1.24 mg./kg. day; for the red cell iron turnover rate, 1.18 mg./kg. day; for the red cell life span, 13 days. Corresponding figures in the normal swine were 1.11 mg./kg. day, 1.01 mg./kg. day, 0.59 mg./kg. day and 63 days, respectively.
The red cell life span was measured by the use of radioactive chromium in a total of 26 pigs. The mean erythrocyte half-life of normal cells transfused into normal pigs was 17 days. The mean half-life of erythrocytes from copperdeficient swine transfused into copper-deficient swine was 9 days. The mean half-life of red cells from control animals transfused into copper-deficient swine was 16 days while that of erythrocytes from copper-deficient swine transfused into normal pigs, was 13 days. The mean half-life of cells from iron-deficient pigs transfused into iron-deficient pigs was 19 days.
It is concluded that copper deficiency anemia results from both a shortened erythrocyte survival time and limited capacity of the bone marrow to produce red cells. It is suggested that copper is an essential component of erythrocytes in swine.