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Exp Ther Med. 2014 Nov;8(5):1623-1627. Epub 2014 Aug 21.

Histological aspects of the small intestine under variable feed restriction: The effects of short and intense restriction on a growing rabbit model.

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Laboratory of Veterinary Histopathology, Komarno, Slovak Republic.
Department of Animal Husbandry, Czech University of Life Sciences in Prague, Prague, Czech Republic.
Laboratory of Physiology of Nutrition and Quality of Animal Product, Institute of Animal Science, Prague, Czech Republic.
Department of Biology, Selye Janos University, Komarno, Slovak Republic.
Department of Molecular Biology of Cancer, Institute of Experimental Medicine, Academy of Science of the Czech Republic, Prague, Czech Republic.


The objective of this study was to investigate the effect of seven days of feed restriction (between days 42 and 49) on the morphology of the small intestine in experimental rabbit models. Sixty weaned Hyplus rabbits (35 days old) were included in the experiment and split into three groups of 20 rabbits. The first control group (n=20) received feed ad libitum (ADL group), the second (R1) experimental group (n=20) was fed 50 g feed per rabbit per day and the third (R2) experimental group (n=20) received 65 g feed per rabbit per day. Duodenal samples were collected when the rabbits were aged 49, 56, 63 and 70 days. The mean villus height, crypt depth and small intestine length were measured. Significant interactions (P<0.001) between group and age were identified in the villi height and crypt depths. The maximum mean villus height was found in the R2 group in 56-day-old rabbits (643.14 μm), while the minimum was found in the ADL group in 49-day-old rabbits (460.29 μm). The longest (P<0.001) small intestine was measured in the R1 group in 63-day-old rabbits (347.60 cm), while the shortest was measured in the ADL group in 49-day-old rabbits (263.60 cm). The models show that villus height, crypt depth and the length of the small intestine change with the intensity of feed restriction and age.


histopathology; intestinal villi; nutrition; rabbit; small intestine; starvation

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