Hepatic function in rats after spaceflight: effects on lipids, glycogen, and enzymes.
The inclusion of rats aboard Spacelab 3 (SL-3) allowed analyses of liver lipids, glycogen, hepatic enzymes of cholesterol, glycerolipid and sphingolipid biosynthesis, and other enzyme activities. Glycogen content was markedly elevated in livers from the flight animals compared with controls. Cholesterol was 24% (P less than 0.04) lower in livers from the experimental groups, whereas blood cholesterol was 19% higher (P less than 0.05). The activity of 3-hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl-CoA reductase, the rate-limiting enzyme of steroid biosynthesis, was 80% lower (P less than 0.01). Total phospholipids and sphingolipid levels did not differ significantly. The specific activity of fatty acyl-CoA synthetase, which is responsible for activation of fatty acids, was 37% (P less than 0.05) higher in microsomes from the rats on SL-3; however, since these animals had 25% less microsomal protein (P less than 0.02), there was no difference per gram of liver. The initial enzymes of sphingolipid and glycerolipid biosynthesis were assayed; serine palmitoyltransferase was 40% lower (P less than 0.01), and glycerol 3-phosphate acyltransferase did not differ. Hepatic cytochrome P-450 content decreased by 50% after spaceflight. Enzymes that did not differ significantly between the two groups include cytochrome b5, glutathione S-transferase, tyrosine aminotransferase, aspartate aminotransferase, and cystathionase. These findings suggest that spaceflight alters hepatic metabolism of several classes of compounds.
Merrill, AH; Wang, E; Jones, DP; Hargrove, JL
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