Male Sprague-Dawley rats aged 1 month (young) and 9 months (adult) were fed diets containing sucrose, glucose or corn starch as a carbohydrate source for 4 weeks. Dietary sucrose increased (a) the liver size in rats of both ages, (b) the serum cholesterol level in adult rats, (c) the serum triglyceride level, especially in young rats, and (d) the liver cholesterol and triglyceride levels in adult rats. Consequently, there were age-related increases in serum and liver cholesterol in rats fed sucrose. No significant difference was found in the activity of liver 3-hydroxy-3-methylgIutaryI coenzyme A reductase due to the diets in age-matched rats, whereas an age-related decrease was observed in rats fed simple sugars. Rats fed sucrose, especially adult rats, excreted more fecal steroids than ones fed glucose or corn starch. Sucrose tended to enhance the metabolism of linoleate to arachidonate, as judged from the fatty acid composition of liver microsomal phosphatidylcholine. Thus, sucrose exerts a peculiar effect on cholesterol metabolism in relation to age.
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