The purpose of this study was to characterize the lipoprotein profile and cholesterol metabolism in Yoshida rats, a strain of inbred genetically hyperlipemic animals. For comparison, Brown Norway rats were used as control animals. Plasma cholesterol and triglycerides were higher in Yoshida as compared to Brown Norway, the elevation of cholesterol being due to a rise in HDL fraction. Triglyceride distribution among lipoproteins showed an increase in VLDL fraction. Hyperlipemia was not related to diabetes, hypothyroidism or nephropathy. Plasma triglycerides production was increased in Yoshida rats, while lipoprotein and hepatic lipases were similar in the two groups. Hypercholesterolemia was associated with a defect of lipoprotein receptor activity and with elevated HMG-CoA reductase and cholesterol 7α - hydroxylase; conversely ACAT activity was lower in Yoshida as compared to Brown Norway rats. Sterol fecal excretion was comparable in the two groups and hypercholesterolemia in Yoshida rats was not associated to an increase of cholesterol saturation of the bile. We suggest that lipoprotein overproduction is the main cause for hyperlipidemia in this strain of rats.
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