Although new methods for the induction of malnutrition disorders in laboratory animals have been developed, the bulk of the models described in the literature are essentially based on dietary restriction/starvation principle. In this context, little data are available about the metabolic and the immune system parameters of Balb/c mice under starvation/refeeding.
This study examined the effects of starvation and refeeding on the biochemical and immunological status of undernourished Balb/c mice.
Female Balb/c mice, weighing 20 g, were starved for 3 days and then refed with commercial pelleted diet for 8 days. The variables considered were as follows: body weight; serum protein and amino acid concentrations; liver protein content, and cholinesterase and arginase activities; jejunal protein and DNA contents as well as oligosaccharidase levels; hematological parameters (bone marrow and peripheral blood cellularity); peritoneal macrophage activation; and humoral and cell-mediated immune functions.
Profound alterations in both biochemical and immunological conditions appeared after the starvation period. Refeeding resulted in the normalization of serum albumin levels, the intestinal DNA content and the gut-mucosal associated enzymatic activities, the blood lymphocyte counts, and the number of peritoneal macrophages. The markers of liver metabolic function (cholinesterase and arginase activities), and those of bone marrow hemopoiesis and the adaptive immune response (T-dependent antibody titres and delayed-type hypersensitivity response) remained altered after refeeding compared with control mice.
These findings suggest that fasted mice can be used as an animal model of acute starvation that might prove useful in evaluating the effectiveness of nutritional and immunopharmacological interventions.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Protein malnutrition (PM) often is associated with changes in bone marrow (BM) microenvironment leading to an impaired hematopoiesis; however, the mechanism involved is poorly understood. The aim of this study was to compare the cell cycle progression of hematopoietic stem cells (HSC) and hematopoietic progenitor cells (HPC) and evaluate the cell cycle signaling in malnourished mice to assess the mechanism of cell cycle arrest.
C57Bl/6J mice were randomly assigned in control and malnourished groups receiving normoproteic and hypoproteic diets (12% and 2% protein, respectively) over a 5-wk period. Nutritional and hematologic parameters were assessed and BM immunophenotypic analysis was performed. Cell cycle of HPC (Lin(-)) and HSC (Lin(-)Sca-1(+)c-Kit(+)) were evaluated after 6 h of in vivo 5-bromo-2'-deoxyuridine (BrDU) incorporation. Cell cycle regulatory protein expression of HPC was assessed by Western blot.
Malnourished mice showed lower levels of serum protein, albumin, glucose, insulin-like growth factor-1, insulin, and higher levels of serum corticosterone. PM also caused a reduction of BM myeloid compartment resulting in anemia and leukopenia. After 6 h of BrDU incorporation, malnourished mice showed G0-G1 arrest of HPC without changes of HSC proliferation kinetics. HPC of malnourished mice showed reduced expression of proteins that induce cell cycle (cyclin D1, cyclin E, pRb, PCNA, Cdc25a, Cdk2, and Cdk4) and increased expression of inhibitory proteins (p21 and p27) with no significant difference in p53 expression.
PM suppressed cell cycle progression mainly of HPC. This occurred via cyclin D1 down-regulation and p21/p27 overexpression attesting that BM microenvironment commitment observed in PM is affecting cell interactions compromising cell proliferation.
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