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J Exp Med. 1954 November 30; 100(6): 615–627.
PMCID: PMC2136403

THE EFFECT OF ALCOHOL ON THE CHOLINE REQUIREMENT

II. INCIDENCE OF RENAL NECROSIS IN WEANLING RATS FOLLOWING SHORT TERM INGESTION OF ALCOHOL

Abstract

The effect of alcohol on the choline requirement was assayed in weanling rats maintained on a basal diet of relatively low lipotropic activity containing the equivalent of 0.089 per cent choline. Alcohol was administered as a 15 per cent solution in lieu of drinking water. The incidence of renal cortical necrosis, the increase in kidney weight, and the mortality rate at the end of 14 days served as indices of choline deficiency. Under these conditions alcohol-fed animals developed more severe signs of choline deficiency than either pair-fed controls or pair-fed isocaloric controls receiving a sucrose supplement instead of alcohol. The addition of as little as 0.08 per cent of choline to the basal diet abolished these differences. It was concluded that (a) alcohol increases the choline requirement, and may, thus, induce a state of relative deficiency when the diet is marginal in lipotropic activity, and (b) this effect is independent of the caloric intake. The possible significance of these observations in relation to chronic alcoholism in the pathogenesis of Laennec's cirrhosis has been discussed.

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