Muscle morphology in infantile protein malnutrition
- Medical Research Council Department of Experimental Medicine, University of Cambridge, Jamaica
- Tropical Metabolism Research Unit, Jamaica
A study was made of the sartorius muscle in Jamaican infants dying of protein malnutrition. Total counts were made of muscle fibres and sub-sarcolemmal nuclei in transverse section and compared with controls.
A striking pathology is found in severe cases. The muscle fibre is reduced to a size comparable with that of the foetus. Although there is a greatly increased concentration of cells, there is also degeneration and actual loss of fibres and of sub-sarcolemmal nuclei. The proportion of the area occupied by muscle bundles may be halved, and there is a marked relative increase in interstitial collagen.
These changes profoundly affect the interpretation of the results of biochemical analysis.
↵1 Present address: King's College Hospital, Denmark Hill, London S.E.5.