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Am J Clin Nutr. 1993 Dec;58(6):891-6.

Amelioration of effects of severe dietary copper deficiency by food restriction in rats.

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United States Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service, Grand Forks Human Nutrition Research Center, ND 58202-9034.


To test the effect of food restriction on responses to dietary copper deficiency, male weanling rats were fed two amounts of dietary copper via five dietary-intake regimens ranging from ad libitum to 70% of ad libitum intake. Copper-deficient rats exhibited characteristic signs, including depressed organ copper content, reduced activity of copper-dependent enzymes, enlarged hearts, and anemia. Food restriction attenuated the cardiac enlargement, red blood cell defects, and reduction of superoxide dismutase activity in copper-deficient rats. Mineral and enzyme assays suggested that possible mechanisms for this amelioration are the correction of copper status and/or the improvement of antioxidant status. Also, food restriction depressed serum cholesterol and enhanced cytochrome c oxidase activity in both copper-adequate and copper-deficient rats, which compensated for effects of copper deficiency. A second experiment illustrated that the mortality associated with severe copper deficiency was also inhibited by food restriction.

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