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J Lipid Res. 1991 Jun;32(6):887-91.

Induction of fatty liver by fasting in suncus.

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Department of Chemical Pharmacology, Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences, University of Tokyo, Japan.


We found that a fatty liver was easily induced in a novel experimental animal, Suncus murinus (suncus), by withholding food. Hepatic triglyceride content increased linearly for up to 24 h after fasting in these animals. Serum levels of neutral lipids are very low in the fed state compared with those in rats, and decreased significantly after 24 h fasting. On the other hand, serum free fatty acids, which are at the same level in fed animals as in rats, increased threefold in the fasting suncus. In order to learn whether the fatty liver induced by fasting is an unusual physiological state or a pathological on-going state in suncus, they were refed after 24 h fasting. Refeeding resulted in a decrease in hepatic triglyceride content to the level of fed animals. Serum lipid levels, which decreased with fasting, returned to those of fed animals. This evidence indicates that hepatic lipid secretion is impaired even in a physiological state to some extent and that starvation causes increasing influx of free fatty acid to the liver, which might be followed by esterification and result in triglyceride accumulation in the liver. In conclusion, hepatic lipid and lipoprotein metabolism is unique to the suncus, which is a useful animal model for the study of intra-hepatic lipid transport.

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