Development and partial metabolic characterization of a dietary cholesterol-resistant colony of rabbits

M. L. Overturf, S. A. Smith, D. Hewett-Emmett, D. S. Loose-Mitchell, M. R. Soma, A. M. Gotto, J. D. Morrisett

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations


A colony of New Zealand white rabbits has been developed which, when fed a cholesterol-supplemented diet, exhibit unusual resistance to hypercholesterolemia and atherosclerosis, disorders usually observed in normal cholesterol-fed rabbits. When resistant rabbits (RT) were fed a normal low cholesterol diet (ND), their plasma lipoprotein patterns were significantly different from those of normal rabbits (NR) fed the same diet. The low density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-c)/high density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-c) ratio and LDL-c/very low density lipoprotein cholesterol (VLDL-c) ratio were lower in the resistant rabbits. The hydrated density of HDL of the normal-responsive rabbits was greater than that of the resistant rabbits. LDL from resistant rabbits contained a lower proportion of esterified cholesterol and protein than LDL from normal rabbits. Peripheral mononuclear cells from resistant rabbits bound about 30% more 125I-labeled rabbit LDL than mononuclear cells from normal rabbits. These results demonstrate that the plasma cholesterol levels of these animals is at least partly under genetic control and that compositional differences exist between the major plasma lipoprotein classes of normal and resistant rabbits even during the ingestion of low-cholesterol diet. The results indicate that at least a part of the difference in the cholesterolemic responses between the two rabbit groups is due to an enhanced LDL uptake by the mononuclear cells, and presumably by other somatic cells of the resistant group.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)263-273
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of lipid research
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1989

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Endocrinology
  • Cell Biology


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