Hepatic iron overload may contribute to hypertriglyceridemia and hypercholesterolemia in copper-deficient rats

Metabolism. 1997 Apr;46(4):377-81. doi: 10.1016/s0026-0495(97)90051-2.


The present study was conducted in order to determine whether hepatic iron retention in rats fed a copper-deficient diet containing fructose is associated with hypertriglyceridemia and hypercholesterolemia, and whether a reduction of iron intake will prevent elevation of blood triglycerides and cholesterol. Rats were fed from weaning either a copper-deficient (0.6 microgram Cu/g) or copper-adequate (6.0 micrograms Cu/g) diet for 4 weeks. Half the rats consumed either an adequate level of iron (50 micrograms Fe/g) or a low level (17 micrograms Fe/g). Reduction of iron intake reduced blood levels of both triglycerides and cholesterol in rats fed a copper-deficient diet containing fructose. In addition, hepatic lipid peroxidation was also decreased. The combination of high iron, low copper, and fructose may be responsible for increased levels of risk-factor metabolites associated with heart disease.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Copper / deficiency*
  • Deficiency Diseases / metabolism
  • Hypercholesterolemia / metabolism*
  • Hypertriglyceridemia / metabolism*
  • Iron / metabolism*
  • Liver / metabolism*
  • Male
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley


  • Copper
  • Iron