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The related effects of inanition and low environmental temperature on the pathogenesis of Trypanosoma duttoni infection in the laboratory mouse Sheppe, Walter Alvin Jr.


Mice restricted to half of their daily food requirement lost weight and died. This effect was accelerated at low temperatures. Mice parasitized by Trypanosoma duttoni died sooner under these conditions than controls. Low temperatures did not affect weight gain or loss, but there is some indication that the parasite may have done so. Mice at 41°F showed transient edema of the extremities, but were not significantly harmed by 19 days exposure to the cold. They showed enlarged adrenal glands within 3 days. The post mortem appearance of the starved animals included gastrointestinal hemorrhage and degeneration. Those mice which died within two weeks usually still had stores of fat, but those which died later did not. It is suggested that the mice at low temperatures died earlier than controls because the higher metabolic rate at these temperatures caused exhaustion of carbohydrate stores before the animals could adjust to exclusive utilization of fat. The animals at room temperature had sufficient time to make this adjustment, and lived until they exhausted their fat stores. The effect of the parasite may have been through its utilization of host carbohydrate. These results support the hypothesis that under stress conditions an animal may be adversely affected by a parasite which is ordinarily benign.

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