The nucleolar changes in the dorsal root ganglion cells of the squirrel monkey, Saimiri sciureus, have been investigated by the use of histological and histochemical methods in the healthy neonates (born to mothers maintained on 25% protein diet during gestation) and young adults, and compared with those observed in the protein-malnourished neonates (born to mothers maintained on a 8% protein diet during gestation). Also studied were young adults maintained on a high protein diet (25% protein) as well as on a low protein diet (2% protein content) for a period of 15 weeks. Whereas in the healthy animals (neonates and young adults) only a few cells show nucleolar budding and finally their extrusion into the cytoplasm, the protein-malnourished animals show a significantly enhanced nucleolar activity in the form of increased size (3–4 times the original) and active budding either from one focal point or at several places on the body of the nucleolus. In the neurons which show chromatolytic changes, these extrusions migrate to the nuclear membrane, wherefrom they pass on to the cytoplasm through an evagination of the nuclear envelope. Such a migration appears to occur by a focal dissolution of the nuclear membrane. It appears that, under conditions of severe malnutrition and advanced chromatolytic changes in the neuronal cytoplasm, the nucleolar material provides a compensatory mechanism for the increased cytoplasmic catabolism and loss of ribonucleoprotein material in order to facilitate additional protein synthesis for cell survival.

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