In 1944 Stoerk and his associates1 of the Department of Pathology, Columbia University, showed that in rats partial pyridoxine (vitamin B6) deficiency produces atrophy of the thymus and other lymphoid tissue without a parallel reduction in body weight. Daugherty and his associates2 of Yale subsequently confirmed an earlier belief that lymphocytes are the main source of specific antibodies. If so, a diet deficient in pyridoxine should lead to reduced specific antibody formation.
Stoerk3 divided young albino rats into three groups of litter mates. The animals of group 1 were weaned on a diet deficient in pyridoxine but otherwise adequate. Restricted amounts of the complete diet were fed to the rats in group 2 in order to duplicate the growth retardation in group 1. A second control group received the complete diet ad libitum. During the first five weeks on these diets the rats in group 3,