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Open Access Effects of Increased Dietary Cholesterol with Carbohydrate Restriction on Hepatic Lipid Metabolism in Guinea Pigs

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Excessive lipid accumulation within hepatocytes, or hepatic steatosis, is the pathognominic feature of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), a disease associated with insulin resistance and obesity. Low-carbohydrate diets (LCD) improve these conditions and were implemented in this study to potentially attenuate hepatic steatosis in hypercholesterolemic guinea pigs. Male guinea pigs (n = 10 per group) were randomly assigned to consume high cholesterol (0.25 g/100 g) in either a LCD or a high-carbohydrate diet (HCD) for 12 wk. As compared with HCD, plasma LDL cholesterol was lower and plasma triglycerides were higher in animals fed the LCD diet, with no differences in plasma free fatty acids or glucose. The most prominent finding was a 40% increase in liver weight in guinea pigs fed the LCD diet despite no differences in hepatic cholesterol or triglycerides between the LCD and the HCD groups. Regardless of diet, all livers had severe hepatic steatosis on histologic examination. Regression analysis suggested that liver weight was independent of body weight and liver mass was independent of hepatic lipid content. LCD livers had more proliferating hepatocytes than did HCD livers, suggesting that in the context of cholesterol-induced hepatic steatosis, dietary car- bohydrate restriction enhances liver cell proliferation.

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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Department of Nutritional Sciences, University of Connecticut, Storrs, Connecticut, USA 2: Department of Nutritional Sciences, University of Connecticut, Storrs, Connecticut, USA; Department of Anatomy and Vascular Surgery, Universidade Jose do Rosario Vellano, Belo Horizonte, Brazil 3: Department of Kinesiology, University of Connecticut, Storrs, Connecticut, USA 4: Department of Nutritional Sciences, University of Connecticut, Storrs, Connecticut, USA. [email protected]

Publication date: 2012-04-01

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  • Comparative Medicine (CM), an international journal of comparative and experimental medicine, is the leading English-language publication in the field and is ranked by the Science Citation Index in the upper third of all scientific journals. The mission of CM is to disseminate high-quality, peer-reviewed information that expands biomedical knowledge and promotes human and animal health through the study of laboratory animal disease, animal models of disease, and basic biologic mechanisms related to disease in people and animals.

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