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Carcinogenesis. 1995 Aug;16(8):1865-9.

The enhancing effect of fasting/refeeding on the growth of nodules selectable by the resistant hepatocyte model in rat liver.

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Istituto di Patologia Sperimentale, Università di Cagliari, Italy.


Caloric restriction causes a generalized decrease in growth rate and has been shown to delay the development of both spontaneous and induced neoplasia. In contrast to chronic food restriction, the extreme condition of fasting/refeeding is associated with an overall increase in cell turnover in several organs, including liver, compared with regular feeding. The present study was therefore designed to investigate the effect of complete food withdrawal followed by refeeding on the growth of hepatocyte nodules in initiated rat liver. Male Fischer 344 rats were given a single dose of diethylnitrosamine (DEN, 200 mg/kg i.p.) and then, starting 1 wk later, they were exposed to one or three cycles of fasting (3 days) followed by refeeding (11 days). The control group was fed continuously. Seven weeks after DEN administration all rats were subjected to the resistant hepatocyte model (2-acetylaminofluorene coupled with CCl4) and 2 weeks later 2/3 partial hepatectomy (PH) was performed. All animals were killed 2 weeks after surgery. At PH rats given one cycle of fasting/refeeding had significantly larger glutathione S-transferase 7-7-positive hepatic lesions compared with controls (mean area 0.73 +/- 0.04 versus 0.50 +/- 0.05 mm2, P < 0.025; mean percent area 25.6 +/- 3.2 versus 12.4 +/- 0.9, P < 0.005), while no significant change was observed in their number. The observed differences were more pronounced with three cycles of fasting/refeeding. A similar pattern of results was obtained at the time of killing. It is concluded that fasting/refeeding can exert a positive effect on the growth of rat hepatocyte foci and nodules, in contrast to the general inhibitory effect on carcinogenesis caused by food restriction.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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