Research Article| Volume 64, ISSUE 4, P613-623, October 1964

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Cholesterol metabolism. III. Enhancement of cholesterol absorption and accumulation in safflower oil-fed rats

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      The metabolic effects of polyunsaturated versus saturated fat diets on rats fed supplemental cholesterol were studied in detail. Four rats were fed a basic diet enriched with 0.64 per cent cholesterol and 20 per cent polyunsaturated fat (safflower oil) and compared with four rats fed the same basic diet enriched with 0.64 per cent cholesterol and 20 per cent saturated fat (butter). Compared to the butter diet, the safflower oil diet produced (1) increased cholesterol absorption, (2) markedly enhanced cholesterol accumulation, and (3) a lower blood cholesterol. The enhanced cholesterol accumulation in the safflower oil-fed rats was restricted entirely to the liver and was largely present as cholesterol ester. Cholesterol analyses of lung, kidney, heart, testes, muscle, skin, gastrointestinal tract, spleen, and residual carcass of each animal were identical, regardless of diet. Cholesterol-4-C14 turnover studies showed the blood cholesterol half-life to be longer in safflower-fed animals with larger blood-liver cholesterol pools. Excretion of fecal steroids and bile acids was identical in both groups. The data indicate that safflower oil (polyunsaturated fat) diets affect blood cholesterol levels by altering the partition equilibrium of cholesterol between blood and liver.
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