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The effects of fasting and refeeding on adrenal cortex morphometry and serum concentrations of ACTH and corticosterone in young and old male rats.

  • Kmiec, Z
  • Pokrywka, L
  • Kotlarz, G
  • Mysliwski, A
Published Article
Journal of physiology and pharmacology : an official journal of the Polish Physiological Society
Publication Date
Nov 01, 2006
57 Suppl 6
PMID: 17228089


The impairment of homeostatic mechanisms in ageing becomes often apparent upon physiological or pathological stimulation. We have previously shown that fasting and refeeding revealed the existence of age-related changes of carbohydrate and lipid metabolism. Because fuel metabolism is partially controlled by corticosteroids we decided to determine the effects of refeeding on adrenal gland morphometry, ACTH, and corticosterone serum levels in young (5 mo) and (20 mo) old male Wistar rats. Fasting for 48 h did not change serum ACTH and corticosterone in both age groups. ACTH level did not change after 24 h of refeeding in young and old rats. However, in old, but not young animals, refeeding resulted in the decrease of corticosterone serum concentration. The relative weight of adrenal gland (% of body weight) did not change significantly with age (p=0.05). Fasting for 48 h induced in old rats but not in young ones increase of relative adrenal weight, and the volume of the reticular zone. Refeeding reduced adrenal volume, fascicular zone and reticular zone. Refeeding for 24 h decreased the total volume of adrenal gland of old rats due to a decline of the volumes of fascicular and reticular zones. In young rats refeeding reduced the volume of reticular zone. It is concluded that refeeding revealed ageing-dependent decline in the secretion of corticosterone, the key hormone of prolonged stress response.

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