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Am J Vet Res. 2001 Mar;62(3):331-6.

Influence of age and sex on plasma lipid and lipoprotein concentrations and associated enzyme activities in cats.

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Waltham Centre for Pet Nutrition, Waltham-on-the-Wolds, Melton Mowbray, Leicestershire, UK.



To determine effects of age and sex on plasma lipid and lipoprotein metabolism in cats.


33 kittens and 16 adolescent, 23 adult, and 10 senior cats.


Plasma concentrations of cholesterol, triglyceride, and lipoprotein-cholesterol and activities of lipoprotein lipase, hepatic lipase, and lecithin:cholesterol acyl transferase (LCAT) were measured and compared within and among groups.


Plasma cholesterol and triglyceride concentrations were significantly higher in 5- and 7-week-old kittens, compared with the same kittens after weaning and cats in the other age groups. Cholesterol concentration was significantly less in 20-week-old kittens, compared with adolescent and adult cats. Lipid and lipoprotein-cholesterol concentrations were not significantly different among the adolescent, adult, and senior groups, nor did sex influence lipid and lipoprotein-cholesterol concentrations in these groups. Activities of lipoprotein and hepatic lipases were significantly less in senior cats, compared with the other groups. Activity of LCAT was highest in 20-week-old kittens and was greater in sexually intact adult and adolescent females, compared with their male counterparts. After castration, activities of hepatic lipase and LCAT significantly decreased in adolescent male cats.


The upper limits of reference ranges for plasma cholesterol and triglyceride concentrations should be increased for kittens < 8 weeks of age. Low cholesterol concentrations in adolescent cats likely reflect high tissue demands for growth and steroidogenesis. Decrease in lipoprotein and hepatic lipase activity in senior cats could predispose this age group to hypertriglyceridemia, particularly in insulin-resistant cats or those fed a high fat diet.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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