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Metabolism. 1997 Apr;46(4):377-81.

Hepatic iron overload may contribute to hypertriglyceridemia and hypercholesterolemia in copper-deficient rats.

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  • 1Metabolism and Nutrient Interactions Laboratory, Beltsville Human Nutrition Research Center, US Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service, MD 20705, USA.


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 microgram Cu/g) or copper-adequate (6.0 micrograms Cu/g) diet for 4 weeks. Half the rats consumed either an adequate level of iron (50 micrograms Fe/g) or a low level (17 micrograms Fe/g). 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 decreased. The combination of high iron, low copper, and fructose may be responsible for increased levels of risk-factor metabolites associated with heart disease.

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