• Macaca mulatta;
  • SMA;
  • Protein repletion


We studied the growth of 97 rhesus monkeys (M. mulatta) that from birth until 120 days of age were fed a diet containing 13.4%, 6.7%, 3.35% protein or a commercial simulated human-milk formula (SMA) affording 9% protein. After 120 days, all animals were fed SMA. Females fed the diet lowest in protein, but not the other diets, were moderately affected, gaining less weight than their well-fed counterparts did, but they recovered their deficit during the repletion period, so that at 240 days no group differences remained. Males fed the two lowest-protein diets were severely and profoundly affected, in keeping with the depth of their protein deficiency. Moreover, unlike the females, they recovered none of their weight deficit during the repletion period. Food intake during deprivation was lower in the animals eating the low-protein diets. During SMA repletion, intakes followed no simple rule, but they did not converge. Except for the males fed the 3.35% protein diet, relative food intake (ml formula/kg body weight) did not differ substantially between diets or sexes at any time during the deprivation and diminished as the animals got older. Those males' relative intakes did not decline. During repletion, the SMA females ate the most in proportion to weight and the 13.4% group the least. The lowest-protein males, in contrast, ate the most in proportion to their weight during both deprivation and repletion. Males fed the lowest-protein diet gained little for what they ate; those fed the highest-protein diet gained much. Females were more efficient than males were when eating the low-protein diet and less efficient when eating the high-protein diet. When fed SMA during repletion, males' food efficiencies (grams gained/liter of diet) were nearly equal; females still differed: the SMA group was the least efficient and the low-protein group most efficient. Its counterpart, protein efficiency, was greatest (during deprivation) for females eating the low-protein diet and least (among females) for those eating the high-protein diet. Males were least protein efficient if eating the low-protein diet. Evidently, a 4 month bout of protein deprivation had prolonged effects on the amount of food the animals needed to produce a given gain in weight.