Background: Inflammation has important effects on lipid metabolism, but the relationship between hyperlipidemia, inflammation, and disease remains unknown in rabbits. While rabbits are sensitive to dietary hypercholesterolemia, the etiology of hyperlipidemia when fed non-atherogenic diets is uncertain. Objectives: This study aimed to determine the association between hypercholesterolemia and patient characteristics, diseases, and select CBC and biochemistry analytes in rabbits, and to measure plasma lipoprotein lipid fractions in rabbits with inflammatory and other diseases. Methods: Complete blood count and plasma biochemistry data, including total cholesterol concentrations, were evaluated in 531 companion rabbits. Lipoprotein cholesterol fractions (non-high-density lipoprotein cholesterol [non-HDLc] and high-density lipoprotein [HDLc]) and triglycerides were measured using a colorimetric enzymatic assay in archived plasma from a subset of 267 rabbits. Rabbits were categorized by age, sex, spay/neuter status, breed, diet status (fed atherogenic dietary components or not), the organ system affected by disease, and the pathologic process. Results: Cholesterol was associated with fibrinogen (P = 0.01), globulins (P < 0.01), and heterophil (P < 0.01) concentrations. Adjusting for diet, rabbits with severe infection or sepsis (odds ratio [OR] = 13.25, 95% CI = 5.83-30.12), renal failure (OR = 14.42, 95% CI = 5.69-36.54), and hepatopathy (OR = 8.55, 95% CI = 3.55-20.62) had increased risks of hypercholesterolemia. Increased non-HDLc and triglyceride concentrations were also associated with these three disease states (P < 0.05). Conclusions: Hyperlipidemia is associated with biochemical and CBC markers of inflammation, and with severe infection or sepsis, renal failure, and hepatopathy. Independent of diet, increased cholesterol, non-HDLc, and triglycerides are indicators of disease in companion rabbits.
- renal failure
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