When blood plasma proteins are depleted by bleeding with return of red cells suspended in saline (plasmapheresis) it is possible to bring dogs to a steady state of hypoproteinemia and a constant level of plasma protein production if the diet nitrogen intake is controlled and limited. Such dogs are outwardly normal but have a lowered resistance to infection and intoxication and probably to vitamin deficiency.
When the diet nitrogen is provided by certain mixtures of the ten growth essential amino acids plus glycine, given intravenously at a rapid rate, plasma protein production is good. The same mixture absorbed subcutaneously at a slower rate may be slightly better utilized. Fed orally the same mixture is better utilized and associated with a lower urinary nitrogen excretion.
An ample amino acid mixture for the daily intake of a 10 kilo dog may contain in grams dl-threonine 1.4, dl-valine 3, dl-leucine 3, dl-isoleucine 2, l(+)-lysine·HCl·H2O 2.2, dl-tryptophane 0.3, dl-phenylalanine 2, dl-methionine 1.2, l(+)-histidine·HCl·H2O 1, l(+)-arginine·HCl 1, and glycine 2. Half this quantity is inadequate and not improved by addition of a mixture of alanine, serine, norleucine, proline, hydroxyproline, and tyrosine totalling 1.4 gm.
Aspartic acid appears to induce vomiting when added to a mixture of amino acids. The same response has been reported for glutamic acid (8).
Omission from the intake of leucine or of leucine and isoleucine results in negative nitrogen balance and rapid weight loss but plasma protein production may be temporarily maintained. It is possible that leucine may be captured from red blood cell destruction.
Tryptophane deficiency causes an abrupt decline in plasma protein production. No decline occurred during 2 weeks of histidine deficiency but the urinary nitrogen increased to negative balance.
Plasma protein production may be impaired during conditions of dietary deficiency not related to the protein or amino acid intake. Skin lesions and liver function impairment are described. Unidentified factors present in liver and yeast appear to be involved.