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Nutritional effects on the lifespan of Syrian hamsters

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Abstract

Syrian hamsters were fed one of nine semipurified diets composed of three casein levels (9, 18, and 36 g/385 Kcal), with each of three corn oil levels (4.5, 9.0, and 18.0 g/385 Kcal). These diets were given either for five weeks and were followed by control diet (18 g casein and 9 g corn oil/385 Kcal) or control diet was fed for the first five weeks and was followed by the nine diets. Calorie consumption, maximum body weight and length of growth period and of life are reported. Calorie consumption was directly related to dietary fat levels. Maximum body weights increased with increasing dietary fat and protein when the various diets were fed during weeks 1–5. This result was not due to a conditioning of the animals fed high-fat or high-protein levels during weeks 1–5 to consume more calories after week 5, since after this time consumption was the same in all groups fed the control diet. When diets were fed from week 6 body weight increased in both sexes with increased dietary fat; however, higher dietary protein increased female and decreased male maximum body weight. Males took longer to reach these maximum weights than females, and were not affected by receiving the various diets during weeks 1–5. However, when diets were fed from week 6 until death, the growth period increased with higher dietary fat or protein. Male hamsters survived longer than females with each experimental treatment. Animals fed low-fat, low-protein diet or high-fat, high-protein diet during the first 5 weeks of the study survived longest. When diets were fed from 6 weeks until death, survival increased as dietary fat rose for both sexes. In contrast, survival improved as dietary protein rose for females or decreased for males. These studies establish a basis for further investigations on the link between nutrition and longevity in the Syrian hamster.

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Birt, D.F., Higginbotham, S.M., Patil, K. et al. Nutritional effects on the lifespan of Syrian hamsters. AGE 5, 11–19 (1982). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF02431718

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