1. Incorporation of S35-labeled amino acids into serum proteins has been studied in neonatal and developing rabbits. It was found that, per unit weight, neonatal rabbits synthesized only about 1/36 of the gamma globulin, 1/7 of the beta globulin, ½ of the alpha globulin, and ⅛ of the albumin that an adult synthesized. The growing rabbit developed the ability to synthesize various serum proteins at different times.
2. Plasma volumes and serum protein concentrations were determined at different times during the growth period of the rabbit. Plasma volumes were found to be 1 and ½ times larger in newborn animals than in adults, with a gradual decline to the adult level. The total serum protein concentration at birth was about 60 to 65 per cent of the adult value and gradually increased with growth as the plasma volume decreased.
3. Half-lives of homologous albumin and gamma globulin were studied. The half-life of albumin in neonates was nearly twice as long as the half-life in adults, the latter value being reached at 1 month of age. The half-life of gamma globulin in neonates was more than twice as long as the half-life in adults and reached adult values at 2 to 3 months.
4. Attempts were made to alter serum protein metabolism. Gamma globulin synthesis early in life was augmented with antigen injections.