Introduction: In order to further investigate the finding of haemosiderosis associated with inflammatory islet injury in intrauterine growth restricted (IUGR) and high fat (HF) fed Sprague Dawley (SD) rats, we fed Sham and IUGR SD rats with HF diets containing low and high iron contents.
Methods: The male SD offspring of bilateral uterine artery ligated (IUGR offspring) and sham-operated (Sham offspring) dams were fed high fat (HF) diets containing low iron (LI, 20 mg/kg diet) or high iron (HI, 500 mg/kg diet) from weaning. Serial measurements of body weight, non-fasted blood glucose, free fatty acids, triglyceride and insulin were taken. Glucose tolerance (gluc. tol.) tests (ip) were performed at 13 weeks of age. At 14 weeks, tissues including pancreas were harvested and submitted to blinded histological analysis. Due to low numbers in what are preliminary results, most data presented relates to the Sham offspring.
Results: Sham HF-HI rats (n=6 in each group) develop excess weight gain and glucose intolerance compared to counterparts fed on Sham HF-LI (AUC 2438 ± 179 vs 1765 ± 167, respectively; p<0.05). Non-fasting plasma triglyceride levels were moderately higher at 14 weeks of age in the Sham rats fed HF-HI compared to HF-LI (8.0±0.6 vs 5.6±0.6 mmol/L, respectively). Macroscopic and histological evidence of acute pancreatitis with necrosis, and saponification of adjacent adipose tissue was observed in 3/6 Sham HF-HI and 0/6 HF-LI rats and 2/2 IUGR HF-HI rats. Abnormal iron deposition was not observed in the pancreases or livers of either rat group.
Conclusion: These preliminary results suggest that HF diets and high dietary iron have a synergistic effect in causing glucose intolerance and acute pancreatitis in the SD rat. This preliminary finding warrants further investigation.