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Br J Nutr. 2003 Sep;90(3):573-9.

Excess dietary histidine decreases the liver copper level and serum alanine aminotransferase activity in Long-Evans Cinnamon rats.

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Division of Applied Bioscience, Graduate School of Agriculture, Hokkaido University, Sapporo 060-8589, Japan.


Long-Evans Cinnamon (LEC) rats spontaneously develop fulminant hepatitis, associated with excess Cu accumulation in the liver: thus, they are considered an animal model of Wilson's disease. In the present study, we investigated the ability of excess dietary histidine to reduce the excess accumulation of liver Cu in LEC rats by comparing them with Fischer rats. The results clearly showed that the excess-histidine diet markedly stimulated the Cu excretion in urine, and significantly decreased the liver Cu content in LEC rats by 47.5%. The serum Cu content in LEC rats was not influenced by excess dietary histidine. We also compared the effects of excess dietary histidine on some liver antioxidant enzyme activities, liver and serum lipid levels and serum alanine aminotransferase activity of LEC and Fischer rats. Dietary histidine decreased the activities of total and Cu,Zn-superoxide dismutase in the liver of both strains. In LEC rats, the liver cholesterol content decreased, and serum cholesterol and phospholipids levels increased on feeding the excess-histidine diet. When fed on the basal diet, the serum alanine aminotransferase activity was higher in LEC rats than in Fischer rats, but a significant decrease in serum alanine aminotransferase activity of LEC rats was observed on feeding the excess-histidine diet. These results suggest that excess dietary histidine is effective in removing Cu ions from the liver of LEC rats. Thus, it may be of benefit in the prevention or treatment of liver injury in LEC rats and in patients with Wilson's disease.

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