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December 1990

Chronic Alcohol Ingestion Increases Aortic Lipid Levels in Rats

Author Affiliations

From the Sections of Vascular Surgery (Drs Hunter, Piotrowski, McIntyre, and Bernhard) and Surgical Biology (Dr Eskelson and Mr Odeleye), Department of Surgery, Veterans Affairs Medical Center, The University of Arizona, Tucson; and The Letterman Army Research Institute, San Francisco, Calif (Dr Dubick).

Arch Surg. 1990;125(12):1558-1560. doi:10.1001/archsurg.1990.01410240036007

• We evaluated the effects of alcohol ingestion on aortic lipid concentrations in 15 pair-fed Sprague-Dawley rats divided into three groups of five animals each. Control rats were fed a liquid diet, with 36% of their energy provided by maltose-dextrin for 28 days, and the remaining two groups of rats were fed an equivalent proportion of their energy as alcohol for 28 days or 18 months. Alcohol-fed rats exhaled significantly greater quantities of ethane than did controls at 28 days and 18 months. Serum cholesterol levels increased by 40% and triglyceride levels increased by 80%, but phospholipid levels remained unchanged in alcohol-fed rats compared with controls. Aortic concentrations of cholesterol and phospholipids increased twofold and three-fold, respectively, in alcohol-fed rats, with a corresponding alteration of the cholesterol-phospholipid ratio at both time intervals. Tissue triglyceride levels were only elevated at 28 days, and no differences in aortic lipid peroxide levels were detected between alcohol-fed rats and controls. The results of the study indicate that alcohol ingestion increases aortic cholesterol, phospholipid, and triglyceride levels at 28 days and cholesterol and phospholipid but not triglyceride levels at 18 months. The mechanisms underlying the accumulation of lipids in aortic tissue need further elucidation.

(Arch Surg. 1990;125:1558-1560)