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Muscle morphology in infantile protein malnutrition
  1. R. D. Montgomery1
  1. Medical Research Council Department of Experimental Medicine, University of Cambridge, Jamaica
  2. 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.

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    • 1 Present address: King's College Hospital, Denmark Hill, London S.E.5.