Our observations show that young rabbits born of mothers afflicted with Schistosomum japonicum develop typical rickets. Rickets can also be produced if we infect the young, healthy rabbits with the same parasite. It is natural to suppose that the rachitic changes are caused by the parasite itself. Since, however, a similar disease can be produced in the offspring, when the mother is fed on egg yolk, the causation is not limited to the action of this parasitic toxin alone.
The toxin of Schistosoma may disturb the calcium and phosphorus metabolism of bone in young animals, especially in the period of vigorous growth; that is, 20 to 40 days after birth of the rabbits. Or it may exhaust some element important in the calcium and phosphorus metabolism such as vitamin A or D. The fact that exhaustion of the antirachitic factor in the mother causes rickets in the young, as Grant (1924) showed, and that certain low grade infections can exhaust vitamin B as shown by Wedgewood (1924), is in line with this conception.
It may be added here that most investigations on rickets have been carried out on rats and dogs. We have found a simple and excellent way of producing rickets in rabbits by dietary deficiency. Concerning this method, we shall report elsewhere.