A Study of the Serum Proteins of the Peoples of Papua and New Guinea


The serum proteins of 2688 indigenous subjects living in various regions of New Guinea and New Britain have been examined by electrophoresis. It was found that the γ-globulin level in all areas increased with age, reaching values in the range 2.7–3.2 g per 100 ml in the lowland areas. This was significantly higher than the range of 1.9–2.4 found in the highlands. From the available nutritional and clinical data and from the fact that there was no consistently significant difference between serum albumin levels of lowland and highland peoples it was concluded that the higher γ-globulin levels of the former were probably due to a higher infective load. Haptoglobin levels were also less in the lowland regions and it is suggested that this may be due to removal of haptoglobin from the circulation in the form of its hemoglobin complex following the hemolysis of malaria and certain arbovirus infections to which the lowland peoples are subject.

Author Notes

Baker Medical Research Institute, Commercial Road, Prahran, S.1., Victoria, Australia.

National Institute of Neurological Diseases and Blindness, National Institutes of Health, U.S.A.

A. A. Thomas Research Fellow, Anti-Cancer Council of Victoria.

Department of Pathology, College of Physicians and Surgeons, Columbia University, U.S.A.

General Hospital, Public Health Department, Port Moresby, Territory of Papua and New Guinea.

Leprosy Control Unit, Public Health Department, Mt. Hagen, Territory of Papua and New Guinea.