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Physiology of the exocrine pancreas in relation to protein utilization by the chinchilla Smith, Valerie Irene


Protein utilization was investigated in the chinchilla from birth to post-weaning by studying three important stages of growth and nutritional adaptation, occurring at birth, weaning, and in adult life. The first area of study was centered on the pre-colostral chinchilla, a period which in many species is accompanied by absorption of intact proteins and immunoglobulins. immunoglobulins of the blood sera from birth to post-weaning were quantitated by polyacrylamide disc gel electrophoresis. The levels of immunoglobulins did not correlate with pancreatic enzyme or inhibitory levels in any way so as to show a relationship between inhibited enzyme levels and the amount of immunoglobulin absorbed into the blood stream. Trypsin and chymotrypsin inhibitors, assayed spectrophotometri cally, were not appreciable in the pancreatic homogenate from the young chinchilla tested. The study of adaptation can be based on the assumption that at different stages of growth, the chinchilla utilizes the proteins of its diet to different extents. This is in accordance with the change in level of protein between its first diet of maternal milk and then its secondary diet of roughage. in order to verify this assumption, pancreatic protease activity, of trypsin and chymotrypsin, was studied in seventeen chinchilla from birth to post-weaning. Homogenates of the pancreas, assayed spectrophotometrically, were used to monitor the enzymatic activity. Though not significantly different for the respective age groups, trypsin and. chymotrypsin levels tended to be highest at birth, dropping at about day three to day eight and then rising slightly at about six weeks of age where the values leveled off. The third area of study was the juvenile and adult adjustment to various rations. in this case, five rations varied in protein levels, ranging from a low protein level (11.2%) to a relatively high protein level (24.5%). Pancreatic trypsin and chymotrypsin levels were investigated to determine if pancreatic protease would respond to the level of protein in the diet. Again, enzyme levels were not significantly different between diets, but there was a tendency for the higher protein diets to result in higher enzyme values.

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