PMID: 108464Dec 1, 1978

Galvanized caging as a potential factor in the development of the "fading infant" or "white monkey" syndrome

Laboratory Animal Science
D K Obeck


Four rhesus females and their infants were kept in galvanized enclosures, and three were kept in stainless steel caging. All four offspring in the galvanized enclosures developed achromotrichia, alopecia, and weakness that varied from modererate to severe while the three infants in stainless steel cages were clinically normal. Plasma copper, zinc, and iron values as well as liver copper and zinc values of the infants were compared for the two types of caging. Plasma copper values were significantly lower (p less than 0.001) in the animals housed in galvanized cages. Plasma zinc and liver zinc levels were significantly elevated in these same animals (p less than 0.01 and p less than 0.05, respectively). Significant differences were not detected in liver copper values in the two groups of infants. Copper and zinc levels in the dams' plasma and milk were not statistically different between the two groups.

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