The rate of plasma protein turnover is more rapid in dogs receiving adequate dietary protein than when a diet devoid of protein is fed. Both albumin and combined globulins are involved in this change.
The difference in turnover is reflected in a total protein half-life of 4.8 days with protein feeding versus 7.8 days without protein in the diet and in the metabolism of 1.0 and 0.65 gm. per kilogram of body weight per day on the respective diets.
Additions of dietary protein from 10 to 30 per cent caused no further increase in the rate of plasma protein turnover.
With protein depletion due to plasmapheresis and a very low protein diet there is evidence of reduced protein metabolism as indicated by nitrogen retention as well as a reduction in total plasma protein breakdown and interchange of isotope between plasma and tissue proteins.
Following introduction of labeled plasma protein into the circulation the net amount of isotope transferred to tissues has been computed from the difference between total plasma protein breakdown and combined C14 excretion in urine and expired air. In animals receiving adequate dietary protein, tissue transfer amounts to 70 per cent of the total lost from the plasma proteins each day while the percentage rises to 85 in depleted dogs deprived of protein.
In dogs with both plasma and tissue proteins labeled it can be estimated that, under conditions of protein feeding, an amount of C14 approximately equal to that lost from the plasma must recycle to account for the observed decrease in Apparent plasma protein turnover rate, (t½ of 15 versus 5 days). Without protein in the diet the isotope contribution of the tissues to the maintenance of plasma protein levels must be as great as or greater than that transferred in the opposite direction.