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Genotype and Diet Effects in Lean and Obese Zucker Rats Fed Either Safflower or Coconut Oil Diets

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Previously we reported that suckling lean heterozygous (FA/fa) Zucker rats had a number of adipose tissue measurements intermediate between those of homozygous lean (FA/FA) and obese (fa/fa) rats. However, in young adult male rats maintained on a low-fat diet, these differences were no longer apparent (i.e., values for the two lean genotypes were similar). In the present study we determined whether the heterozygous effect of the “fa” gene was dependent on the consumption of a high-fat diet. Mother rats were fed high-fat diets containing either safflower (SOD) or coconut (COD) oil throughout mating and lactation. Homozygous lean male and female rats were bred, as well as obese male and lean heterozygous female rats. Suckling rats were studied at 17 days of age. Additional male rats were maintained on the same diet as their mothers until 11–12 weeks of age. Obese suckling rats had higher body weights than lean pups. Inguinal fat pad weights and pad-to-body weight ratios followed the pattern of obese greater than lean (FA/fa) pups that were greater than lean (FA/FA) pups. A similar relationship was found for adipose tissue lipogenic enzyme activities. At 11–12 weeks of age, measurements followed the general pattern of obese rats having greater values than lean rats (i.e., FA/fa = FA/FA). SOD-fa/fa rats had higher hepatic lipogenic enzyme activities than COD-fa/fa rats. In addition, SOD rats had higher fat cell numbers than COD rats. These results suggest that specific fatty acids can alter adipocyte proliferation and/or differentiation in vivo. In addition, there appears to be a defect of fatty acid regulation in livers of genetically obese rats. The heterozygous effect of the “fa” gene in suckling Zucker rats was confirmed. However, high-fat feeding did not result in a heterozygous effect in young adult lean male rats. We will next evaluate the role of sex on this effect.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: The Hormel Institute, University of Minnesota, 801 16th Ave. N.E. Austin, Minnesota 55912

Publication date: 1999-03-01

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