Nitrogen balance, plasma free amino acid concentrations and urinary orotic acid excretion during long-term fasting in cats

V. Biourge, J. M. Groff, C. Fisher, D. Bee, James Morris, Quinton Rogers

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The purpose of this study was to ascertain the changes in nitrogen balance, plasma free amino acid concentrations, urinary orotic acid excretion and body weight during long-term fasting in adult obese cats. Results from eight cats that fasted rather than eat an unpalatable diet are reported. After 5 to 6 wk of weight loss, six of the eight cats developed signs of hepatic lipidosis, and the livers of all cats were severely infiltrated with lipids. Cats lost (mean ± SE) 33.2 ± 1.4% of their pre-fasting body weight. Mean nitrogen balance (±SE) was -547 ± 54 mg · d-1 · kg(-2/3) for the first week, and then the net nitrogen losses decreased to a plateau (-303 ± 52 mg · d-1 · kg(-2/3)) after 4 wk. Fasting was associated with a decrease in plasma concentration of essential amino acids. When plasma amino acid concentrations were considered individually, concentrations of alanine, methionine, taurine, citrulline, arginine and tryptophan decreased the most (≥50%), whereas concentrations of glutamine, glutamate and ornithine significantly increased. Orotic acid was not detected in the urine during the fast. After 1 wk of fasting, obese cats had reduced nitrogen excretion, but not to the same extent as has been shown in obese humans or obese rats. It is suggested that the availability of several amino acids may become limiting for liver protein synthesis during fasting and that these deficiencies may contribute to the development of hepatic lipidosis. Orotic acid was not linked to hepatic lipidosis caused by fasting in cats.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1094-1103
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Nutrition
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jan 1 1994


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Nutrition and Dietetics

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