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J Hepatol. 1994 Sep;21(3):394-402.

Alcohol in combination with malnutrition causes increased liver fibrosis in rats.

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  • 1TNO Institute of Ageing and Vascular Research (IVVO-TNO), Leiden, The Netherlands.


Rats were malnourished for 12 months with a highly inadequate fat-rich, calorie-sufficient but otherwise poly-deficient liquid diet composed of mashed potatoes with mayonnaise, comparable with the nutritional intake of many chronic alcoholics. When alcohol was incorporated into this diet, administered as whisky in drinking water available ad libitum, the livers of all eight rats showed increased fibrosis and cirrhosis as compared to the livers of the eight non-alcohol-treated, isocalorically fed, paired control rats. Alcohol-treated rats developed fibrosis and cirrhosis on a dietary fat content of 38% of total caloric intake and low blood alcohol levels, ranging from 50 to 126 mg/dl, due to gradual intake over the day and to low absolute intake (mean 11.9 +/- 0.6 g/kg per day). None of the rats died spontaneously. Malnutrition is likely to be an important factor in the development of the fibrosis of alcoholic liver disease, and this rat model may be used to study aspects of the pathogenesis.

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