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International Journal of Experimental Diabetes Research
Volume 3, Issue 3, Pages 179-184

A Diet High in Saturated Fat and Sucrose Alters Glucoregulation and Induces Aortic Fatty Streaks in New Zealand White Rabbits

1Institute of Cardiovascular Research, Nanhua University Medical College, Hengyang, Hunan 421001, China
2Department of Pathophysiology, Central South University Xiangya Medical College, Changsha, Hunan, China

Received 4 March 2002; Accepted 23 May 2002

Copyright © 2002 Hindawi Publishing Corporation. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


A new and convenient animal model for studying peripheral vascular and coronary artery disease in diabetes was established in this study. Male New Zealand White rabbits weighing approximately 2 kg were divided into 2 groups: a normal control group fed standard laboratory chow and a diabetogenic diet–fed group received a high-fat/high-sucrose diet. The high-fat/high-sucrose diet (contained 10% lard and 37% sucrose) feeding was maintained for 6 months. Plasma total cholesterol, high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol, triglyceride, superoxide dismutase, nitric oxide, nitric oxide synthase, insulin, and glucose were quantitated at monthly or bimonthly intervals. The aortic fatty streak lesions were quantified following lipid staining with Sudan IV. The aortic samples were observed by electron microscopy. High plasma triglyceride and glucose concentrations were induced. At the end of 6 months, the aortic fatty streak lesions were present in the animals' vascular specimens. As far as we know, this is the first report that demonstrates that New Zealand White rabbits can develop obvious aortic fatty streaks by feeding a high-fat/high-sucrose diet. Our results suggest that NewZealand White rabbits fed a high-fat/high-sucrose diet would provide a convenient model for studying peripheral vascular and coronary artery disease in diabetes.