Blood α-tocopherol, selenium, and glutathione peroxidase changes and adipose tissue fatty acid changes in kittens with experimental steatitis (yellow fat disease)

A comparative study between the domestic shorthaired and siamese breed


Twenty domestic shorthaired (DSH) and 20 Siamese (S) kittens were allocated into 4 breed-specific groups, of 10 kittens each, that were fed exclusively cooked sardines (F groups) or commercial feline canned food based on oily fish (C groups) for a 4-month period. Clinical signs were scored every 15 d along with body weight recording and blood sampling for the measurement of α-tocopherol and selenium (Se) concentrations and glutathione peroxidase (GSH-Px) activity. Subcutaneous adipose tissue samples were obtained per month to determine its fatty acid composition. Steatitis, reproduced in all 20 F-group kittens, was accompanied by systemic signs in 5 DSH and 6 S animals. The severity of the disease reached its zenith at the second week in the DSH-F-group kittens and the fourth and sixth week in the S-F-group kittens. α-Tocopherol plasma level was significantly lower in F groups compared to their corresponding controls, whereas the opposite was true for Se and red blood cell GSH-Px activity. In conclusion, the results of this study have shown that although the morbidity rate is not different between the two breeds, the delay of Siamese cats to develop symptomatic steatitis is presumably attributed to an inherent resistance as a result of the long-standing evolution of more efficient antioxidant mechanisms. Also, the changes in fatty acid composition of the adipose tissue lipids are associated with the progression of the age, breed, and diet and probably with the inflammatory changes of the adipose tissue.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.


  1. 1.

    D. R. Cordy, Experimental production of steatites (“yellow fat disease”) in kittens fed a commercial canned food and prevention of the condition by vitamin E, Cornell Vet. 44, 312–318 (1954).

    Google Scholar 

  2. 2.

    S. N. Gershoff and S. A. Norkin, Vitamin E deficiency in cat, J. Nutr. 77, 303–308 (1962).

    PubMed  CAS  Google Scholar 

  3. 3.

    A. F. Koutinas, W. H. Miller, Jr., M. Kritsepi, et al., Pansteatitis (steatitis, “yellow fat disease”) in the cat: a review article and report of four spontaneous cases, Vet. Dermatol. 3, 101–106 (1993).

    Google Scholar 

  4. 4.

    National Research Council, Nutrient Requirements of Cats, National Academy of Sciences, Washington, DC (1986).

    Google Scholar 

  5. 5.

    AOAC, Official Methods of Analysis, 15th ed., Association of Official Analytical Chemists, Washington DC, Vol. 2 (1990).

    Google Scholar 

  6. 6.

    W. W. Christie, Lipid Analysis, 2nd ed., Pergamon, Oxford (1982).

    Google Scholar 

  7. 7.

    D. F. Boltz and C. H. Lueck, Phosphorus, in Colorimetric Determinations of Nonmetals, D. F. Boltz, ed, Interscience, New York, p. 41 (1958).

    Google Scholar 

  8. 8.

    S. L. Taylor, M. P. Lamden, and A. L. Tappel, Sensitive fluorometric method for tissue tocopherol analysis, Lipids 11, 530–538 (1976).

    PubMed  Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  9. 9.

    A. Ayiannidis and A. Voulgaropoulos, Improved procedure for the fluorometric determination of Selenium in biological materials, Chem. Chronica New Series 19, 111–118 (1990).

    CAS  Google Scholar 

  10. 10.

    IUPAC, Standard Methods for the Analysis of Oils, Fats and Derivatives, 7th ed., Blackwell, Oxford (1987).

    Google Scholar 

  11. 11.

    L. G. Hansen and W. J. Warwick, A fluorometric micromethod for serum vitamin A and E, Am. J. Clin. Pathol. 51, 538–541 (1969).

    CAS  Google Scholar 

  12. 12.

    L. Flohe and J. Brand, Some hints to avoid pitfalls in quantitative determination of glutathione peroxidase, Z. Klin. Chem. Klin. Biochem. 8, 156–161 (1970).

    PubMed  CAS  Google Scholar 

  13. 13.

    D. R. Cordy and C. J. Stillinger, Steatitis (“yellow fat disease”) in kittens, North Am. Vet. 34, 714–716 (1953).

    Google Scholar 

  14. 14.

    N. Cropper, Pansteatitis in cats fed fish-based commercial foods, Can. Vet. J. 21, 192–193 (1980).

    PubMed  Google Scholar 

  15. 15.

    B. A. Summers, G. Sykes, and M. L. Martin, Pansteatitis mimicking infectious peritonitis in a cat, J. Am. Vet. Med. Assoc. 180, 546–549 (1982).

    PubMed  CAS  Google Scholar 

  16. 16.

    M. K. Hagiwara, J. L. Guerra, and M. R. Maekoa, Pansteatitis (“Yellow fat disease”) in a cat, Feline Pract. 16, 25–27 (1986).

    Google Scholar 

  17. 17.

    T. O. Munson, J. Holzworth, and E. Small, Steatitis (“yellow fat”) in cats fed canned red tuna, J. Am. Vet. Med. Assoc. 133, 563–568 (1958).

    PubMed  CAS  Google Scholar 

  18. 18.

    R. C. Griffiths, G. W. Thornton, and J. E. Wilson, Eight additional cases of pansteatitis (“yellow cat”) in cats, J. Am. Vet. Med. Assoc. 137, 126–128 (1960).

    PubMed  CAS  Google Scholar 

  19. 19.

    L. H. J. C. Danse and W. A. Steenbergen-Botterweg, Early changes of yellow fat disease in mink fed a vitamin E deficient diet supplemented with fresh or oxidised fish, J. Vet. Med. A 23, 645–660 (1976).

    CAS  Google Scholar 

  20. 20.

    C. K. Chow, Vitamin E and blood. World Rev. Nutr. Diet 45, 133–166 (1985).

    PubMed  CAS  Google Scholar 

  21. 21.

    A. D. Watson, W. L. Porges, C. R. Huxtable, et al., Pansteatitis in a cat, Aust. Vet. J. 49, 338–392 (1973).

    Google Scholar 

  22. 22.

    G. J. Gaskell, A. H. Leedale, and S. W. Douglas, Pansteatitis in the cat: a report of four cases, J. Small Anim. Pract. 16, 117–121 (1975).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  23. 23.

    R. P. Fox, E. A. Ttautwein, K. C. Hayes, et al., Comparison of taurine, α-tocopherol, retinol, selenium and total triglycerides and cholesterol concentrations in cats with cardiac disease and in healthy cats, Am. J. Vet. Res. 54, 563–569 (1993).

    PubMed  CAS  Google Scholar 

  24. 24.

    E. J. Underwood, The Mineral Nutrition of Livestock, 2nd ed., C.A.B. (1981).

  25. 25.

    E. S. Aziz and P. H. Klesius, Depressed neutrophil chemotactic stimuli in supernatants of ionophor-treated polymorhonuclear leukocytes from selenium-deficient goats, Am. J. Vet. Res. 47, 1523–1528 (1986).

    Google Scholar 

  26. 26.

    J. Green and J. Bunyan, Vitamin E and the biological antioxidant theory, Nutr. Abst. Rev. 39, 321–345 (1969).

    CAS  Google Scholar 

  27. 27.

    G. Yang, S. Wang, R. Zhou, et al., Endemic selenium intoxication of humans in China, Am. J. Clin. Nutr. 37, 872–881 (1983).

    PubMed  CAS  Google Scholar 

  28. 28.

    L. Schafer, K. Overvad, E. B. Thorling, et al., Adipose tissue levels of fatty acids and tocopherol in young and old women, Ann. Nutr. Metab. 33, 315–322 (1989).

    PubMed  CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  29. 29.

    F. D. Gunstone, An Introduction to the Chemistry and Biochemistry of Fatty Acids and their Glucerides, 2nd ed., Chapman & Hall, London (1967).

    Google Scholar 

  30. 30.

    L. Schafer and K. Overvad. Subcutaneous adipose-tissue fatty acids and vitamin E in humans: relation to diet and sampling site, Am. J. Clin. Nutr. 52, 486–490 (1990).

    PubMed  CAS  Google Scholar 

  31. 31.

    D. S. Lin and W. E. Conner, Are the n−3 fatty acids from dietary fish oil deposited in the triglyceride stores of adipose tissue? Am. J. Clin. Nutr. 51, 535–539 (1990).

    PubMed  CAS  Google Scholar 

  32. 32.

    W. E. Connor, D. S. Lin, and C. Minaric, The differential mobilization of fatty acids from adipose tissues, FASEB J. 8, A-702 (1994).

    Google Scholar 

  33. 33.

    D. W. S. Wong, Lipids, in Mechanisms and Theory of Food Chemistry, AVI, New York (1989).

    Google Scholar 

  34. 34.

    E. J. Goezl, Oxygenation products of arachidonic acid as mediators of hypersensitivity and inflammation, Med. Clin. North Am. 65, 809–828 (1981).

    Google Scholar 

  35. 35.

    T. A. Sanders, Dietary fat and platelet function, Clin. Sci. 65, 343–350 (1983).

    PubMed  CAS  Google Scholar 

  36. 36.

    D. Logas, K. M. Beale, and J. E. Bauer, Potential clinical benefits of dietary supplementation with marine-oil, J. Am. Vet. Med. Assoc. 199, 1631–1636 (1991).

    PubMed  CAS  Google Scholar 

  37. 37.

    J. A. O'Donnel and K. C. Hayes, Nutrition and nutritional disorders, in Diseases of the Cat: Medicine and Surgery, J. Holzworth, ed., W.B. Saunders, Philadelphia, pp. 27–28 (1987).

    Google Scholar 

  38. 38.

    P. J. Armostrong and M. S. Hand, Nutritional disorders, in The Cat: Diseases and Clinical Management, R. D. Sherding, ed. Churchill Livingstone, New York, pp. 148–150 (1989).

    Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information



Corresponding author

Correspondence to A. F. Koutinas.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Fytianou, A., Koutinas, A.F., Saridomichelakis, M.N. et al. Blood α-tocopherol, selenium, and glutathione peroxidase changes and adipose tissue fatty acid changes in kittens with experimental steatitis (yellow fat disease). Biol Trace Elem Res 112, 131–143 (2006).

Download citation

Index entries

  • Feline steatitis
  • α-tocopherol
  • selenium
  • glutathione peroxidase
  • fatty acids