The effect of graded levels of ascorbic acid on the cholesterol concentration in the serum, the liver and the adrenal gland of guinea pigs
Moy, Karen Wing-Shing Lee
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Sixty male guinea pigs were used to study the effects of various levels of ascorbic acid supplements on cholesterol concentration in the serum, the liver and the adrenal gland of these animals. The animals were randomly divided into six groups of ten animals each and were maintained for 42 days on commercial scorbutagenic guinea pig chow supplemented daily with L-ascorbic acid doses of 0.5 mg, 5.0 mg, 15 mg, 50 mg, 150 mg and 300 mg respectively for groups I through VI. Twenty-four hour fasting serum cholesterol levels were determined bi-weekly. The animals were sacrificed on the 42nd day after 24 hour fast. Serum, liver and adrenal cholesterol concentrations were determined. Guinea pigs which received a daily dose of 0.5 mg or 300 mg of ascorbic acid showed severe growth retardation and significant elevation of serum cholesterol levels when compared to the groups receiving 15 or 50 mg of the vitamins daily. Mean liver cholesterol was highest in the control group receiving 15 mg of ascorbic acid. This was not significantly different fr·om the levels found in the animals receiving a 0.5 mg, 5.0 mg, 150 mg or 300 mg ascorbic acid dose, but the level was significantly lower among the group receiving 50 mg of the vitamin daily. Mean adrenal cholesterol concentration was also highest in the control group receiving 15 mg ascorbic acid daily. This was not significantly different from the concentration in animals receiving a 5.0 mg, 50 mg, 150 mg or 300 mg ascorbic dose while a significantly lower level was observed among group receiving 0.5 mg of ascorbic acid daily. Correlations between ascorbic acid and cholesterol levels in the serum, the liver and the adrenal gland were found to be inconsistent and insignificant.