1. The changes in the concentration of some enzymes and their metabolites were studied in the first stages of vitamin A deficiency in chicks.
2. Kidney arginase (EC 126.96.36.199) and liver xanthine dehydrogenase activities had increased even before complete disappearance of vitamin A from the plasma. Similarly, an increase was found in plasma uric acid, and plasma urea also increased but to a lesser extent. Liver proteolytic activity also was slightly increased by vitamin A deficiency.
3. Kidney D-amino acid oxidase (EC 188.8.131.52) activity and plasma concentrations of total protein and free amino acids were not affected, at least in the first stages of the deficiency.
4. Oral dosing of deficient chicks with retinyl palmitate to provide 300 μg retinol, 24 h before killing, brought about a decrease in the activities of both enzymes and of plasma uric acid, and an increase in plasma urea.
5. Dietary levels of vitamin A were reflected not only in the liver concentrations of the vitamin but also in the plasma concentrations.
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