Whey protein, as exclusively nitrogen source, controls food intake and promotes glutathione antioxidant protection in Sprague-Dawley rats


The inclusion of whey protein concentrates (WPC) in the diet can lead to a decrease in food intake. Considering that excessive food intake and weight gain are correlated with increased oxidative stress and other risk factors, the anorectic action of WPC may have important clinical implications. The aims of the current study were to verify the effects of WPC in comparison with those of casein on food intake, weight, and oxidized glutathione (GSSG) and total glutathione (GSH) concentrations in the blood and liver with or without oxidative stress induced by oral carbon tetrachloride intoxication. Male Sprague-Dawley rats were fed a balanced liquid diet for 3 weeks. Half of the rats received WPC (group P), while the control group received casein (group C). Group P rats ate significantly less than group C rats (p < 0.0001), and their weights decreased significantly. After carbon tetrachloride intoxication, there was a significant increase in GSH in rats of group P compared with the levels in rats of group C both in the liver (GSH group P 4,994 ± 652.6, group C 2,196 ± 323.2 nmol/mg, p < 0.01) and in the blood (GSH group P 1,368 ± 69.56, group C 1,088 ± 48.35 nmol/ml, p < 0.05). These findings indicate that WPC is effective in reducing food intake and preventing weight gain, and it may also play a protective role against oxidative stress by increasing glutathione synthesis in the liver.

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Correspondence to Samir G. Sukkar.

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Sukkar, S.G., Cella, F., Patriarca, S. et al. Whey protein, as exclusively nitrogen source, controls food intake and promotes glutathione antioxidant protection in Sprague-Dawley rats. Mediterr J Nutr Metab 1, 109 (2008). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12349-008-0017-0

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  • Whey protein
  • Glutathione
  • Appetite inhibition
  • Energy intake
  • Antioxidant defences
  • Oxidative stress
  • Acute carbon tetrachloride intoxication