The effects of fat-free, saturated and polyunsaturated fat diets on rat liver and plasma lipids
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The liver and plasma lipids and fatty acid composition of rats fed synthetic diets of differing fat type and content were studied. All animals were starved for 48 hr and then refed a high carbohydrate, fat-free diet for 48 hr. They were then divided into three groups and fed for an additional 48 hrs the following: group 1, the fat-free diet; group 2, a diet containing 44% of calories from corn oil; and group 3, a diet containing 44% calories from completely hydrogenated soybean oil. The total lipid concentration of the liver in the animals on the fat-free diet was elevated at 72 and 96 hr. The addition of either saturated or unsaturated fat in the diet at 48 hr prevented this accumulation. The total phospholipid and cholesterol concentrations of the liver were relatively uninfluenced by any diet in this study. Plasma total fatty acid concentration was elevated at 72 hr in the animals on a fat-free diet compared to those fed the stock diet, starved for 48 hr or fed the fat-containing diets. By 96 hr, however plasma fatty acid concentrations in all groups were similar to those in animals fed only the stock diet. The release of de novo synthesized fatty acids into plasma from the liver was strongly inhibited by dietary fat, either saturated or polyunsaturated. With the fat-free diet there was a significant increase in the saturated and monounsaturated fatty acids in both liver and plasma. The addition of corn oil to the diet facilitated a reversion of the fatty acid composition in liver and plasma to that found in the animals fed the stock diet ad libitum, but saturated fat did not. No effect of diet on the fatty acid composition of the red cells was observed during the course of this study. Exogenous saturated fatty acids, although similar chemically to the fatty acids synthesized by the liver, may have physiological actions that differ from endogenously synthesized fat.
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