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Hepatic and adrenal changes in rabbits associated with hyperlipidemia caused by a semi-synthetic diet.

Abstract
Several investigators have reported that feeding a semi-synthetic diet of casein and dextrose to New Zealand White (NZW) rabbits will increase total serum cholesterol concentration, principally through an increase in the beta-lipoprotein fractions, thereby creating a useful model for atherosclerosis research. Although there is evidence to suggest that the dextrose/casein diet alters low-density lipoprotein receptor and bile acid clearance of cholesterol, the underlying mechanism is not completely understood. The effects of the diet on the overall physiology of the rabbit have received little attention. In this study feeding a diet of casein and dextrose of male NZW rabbits for 4 weeks resulted in changes in the serum lipid concentrations. During that time the rabbits fed the dextrose/casein diet gained less weight than did control rabbits. In the test diet rabbits, liver aspartate and alanine transaminase activities were increased from baseline values of 27 +/- 2 U/L and 89 +/- 9 U/L respectively to 112 +/- 21 U/L and 281 +/- 34 U/L respectively, then returned to the high end of the reference range. Necropsy findings included hepatomegaly caused by vacuolar hepatopathy in 19 or 20 experimental rabbits; rabbits fed the control diet had no hepatic lesions. Ultrastructural analysis revealed that enlargement of the liver cells was due to glycogen deposition. Adrenal glands from animals fed the experimental diet had a minimal change in the size of the adrenocortical cells consisting of slight ballooning and rarefaction of the cytoplasm. In a second study the level of dietary fiber was doubled. This resulted in a three-fold increase in lipid concentrations, compared with the fivefold increase in the first study. The liver enzyme activities were increased to the same extent as in the first study. Histologic changes were comparable to those in the first study. The activity of hepatic cholesterol 7alpha-hydroxylase was 3.7 +/- 0.4 pmol/min/mg of protein, compared with the control value of 7.7 +/- 1.1 pmol/min/mg of protein (P < 0.05) in the second study. The improved rate of weight gain and the lesser increase in total serum cholesterol concentration in the second study with increased dietary fiber suggest that two separate activities may be involved. Although the level of dietary fiber may be related to weight gain and total serum cholesterol values, the relation to the decrease in liver transaminase activities in study 1 was probably coincidental. It appears that the dextrose/casein diet causes decreased activity of hepatic cholesterol 7alpha-hydroxylase, which could cause a decrease in the biliary excretion of cholesterol.
AuthorsE A Hausner, K L Schlingmann, H W Chen, P J Gillies, C J Kieras, P E Ross, C S Van Pelt
JournalLaboratory animal science (Lab Anim Sci) Vol. 45 Issue 6 Pg. 663-70 (Dec 1995) ISSN: 0023-6764 [Print] UNITED STATES
PMID8746527 (Publication Type: Journal Article)
Chemical References
  • Caseins
  • Lipoproteins
  • Glycogen
  • Cholesterol
  • Hydroxymethylglutaryl CoA Reductases
  • Cholesterol 7-alpha-Hydroxylase
  • Glucose
Topics
  • Adrenal Glands (pathology)
  • Animals
  • Brain (pathology)
  • Caseins
  • Cholesterol (metabolism)
  • Cholesterol 7-alpha-Hydroxylase (metabolism)
  • Diet
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Food, Formulated
  • Glucose
  • Glycogen (ultrastructure)
  • Hydroxymethylglutaryl CoA Reductases (metabolism)
  • Hyperlipidemias (chemically induced, pathology)
  • Lipoproteins (chemistry)
  • Liver (metabolism, pathology)
  • Male
  • Microscopy, Electron
  • Organ Size
  • Rabbits

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