Different variations of tissue B-group vitamin concentrations in short- and long-term starved rats

Br J Nutr. 2012 Jan;107(1):52-60. doi: 10.1017/S0007114511002339. Epub 2011 Jun 27.


Prolonged starvation changes energy metabolism; therefore, the metabolic response to starvation is divided into three phases according to changes in glucose, lipid and protein utilisation. B-group vitamins are involved in energy metabolism via metabolism of carbohydrates, fatty acids and amino acids. To determine how changes in energy metabolism alter B-group vitamin concentrations during starvation, we measured the concentration of eight kinds of B-group vitamins daily in rat blood, urine and in nine tissues including cerebrum, heart, lung, stomach, kidney, liver, spleen, testis and skeletal muscle during 8 d of starvation. Vitamin B1, vitamin B6, pantothenic acid, folate and biotin concentrations in the blood reduced after 6 or 8 d of starvation, and other vitamins did not change. Urinary excretion was decreased during starvation for all B-group vitamins except pantothenic acid and biotin. Less variation in B-group vitamin concentrations was found in the cerebrum and spleen. Concentrations of vitamin B1, vitamin B6, nicotinamide and pantothenic acid increased in the liver. The skeletal muscle and stomach showed reduced concentrations of five vitamins including vitamin B1, vitamin B2, vitamin B6, pantothenic acid and folate. Concentrations of two or three vitamins decreased in the kidney, testis and heart, and these changes showed different patterns in each tissue and for each vitamin. The concentration of pantothenic acid rapidly decreased in the heart, stomach, kidney and testis, whereas concentrations of nicotinamide were stable in all tissues except the liver. Different variations in B-group vitamin concentrations in the tissues of starved rats were found. The present findings will lead to a suitable supplementation of vitamins for the prevention of the re-feeding syndrome.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Energy Metabolism
  • Male
  • Nutritional Status
  • Organ Size
  • Organ Specificity
  • Random Allocation
  • Rats
  • Rats, Wistar
  • Starvation / blood
  • Starvation / metabolism*
  • Starvation / pathology
  • Starvation / urine
  • Time Factors
  • Vitamin B Complex / blood
  • Vitamin B Complex / metabolism*
  • Vitamin B Complex / urine
  • Weight Loss


  • Vitamin B Complex