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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Hypertriglyceridemia & Hypercholesterolemia in Copper-Deficient Rats Are Associated with Hepatic Iron Overload

Authors
item Fields, Meira
item Lewis, Charles

Submitted to: Atherosclerosis
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: September 11, 1996
Publication Date: N/A

Interpretive Summary: Diets consumed by subjects living in Industrialized societies such as the USA are relatively high in simple sugars such as sucrose and fructose, but are marginal in copper. These diets cause an elevation of cholesterol and triglycerides in blood in the laboratory rat. Both cholesterol and triglycerides are considered as risk factor metabolites associated with heart disease. The consumption of these diets also result in high levels of liver iron. Iron, an essential metal has the potential of being toxic and can cause damage to cells. We hypothesized that high levels of liver iron are responsible for the elevation of both cholesterol and triglycerides in rats fed a low-copper diet containing fructose. The consumption of a low-iron diet by rats fed a diet containing fructose which is low in copper reduced levels of both triglycerides and cholesterol to normal levels. This research impacts greatly on understanding relationships between nutrients and how they affect risk factor metabolites. These data should benefit basic scientists as well as nutritionists and other health professionals. Other beneficiaries are diverse U.S. citizens whose health improvements depends on this and other future related research projects.

Technical Abstract: The present study was conducted in order to determine whether hepatic iron retention in rats fed a copper-deficient diet containing fructose is associated with hypertriglyceridemia and hypercholesterolemia, and whether a reduction of iron intake will prevent elevation of blood triglycerides and cholesterol. Rats were fed from weaning either a copper-deficient (0.6 ug Cu/g) or copper-adequate (6.0 ug Cu/g) diet for 4 weeks. Half the rats consumed either an adequate level of iron (50 ug Fe/g) or low (17 ug Fe/g) iron. Reduction of iron intake reduced blood levels of both triglycerides and cholesterol in rats fed a copper-deficient diet containing fructose. In addition, hepatic lipid peroxidation was also lowered. The combination of high iron, low-copper and fructose may be responsible for increased levels of risk factor metabolites associated with heart disease.

Last Modified: 12/20/2014
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