Wang, R., Liu, R., Li, L. et al. 2020. Fasting is not required for measuring plasma lipid levels in rabbits. Laboratory Animals 54(3), 272–280.

Plasma lipid and glucose levels are important parameters for evaluating the onset and development of metabolic and cardiovascular diseases. In clinical and experimental studies of humans or mice, fasting is often required before testing plasma lipid and glucose levels. The rabbit is a valuable animal model for cardiovascular disease research. However, whether fasting is necessary for measuring plasma lipid and glucose levels in rabbits remains unclear. In the current study, 12 healthy Japanese white rabbits (males weighing 2.5–3.0 kg) were randomly divided into a chow diet group (n = 6) and a high cholesterol diet group (n = 6). They were fed either a standard chow diet or a chow diet supplemented with 0.5% cholesterol and 3% corn oil for 12 weeks. After 12 weeks, the plasma levels of total cholesterol, triglycerides, high-density lipoprotein cholesterol, low-density lipoprotein cholesterol and glucose were measured before and after various fasting durations (8, 12, 16, 20 and 24 h). The results showed that there were no significant differences in lipid levels between the fasting and non-fasting samples, whereas glucose levels were lower after 8 h of fasting than in the absence of fasting. Moreover, the glucose levels were restored to normal after 8 h of refeeding. These results indicate that fasting does not affect plasma lipid values in rabbits but that fasting is important for determining the glucose level in rabbits. These findings may be helpful for future rabbit experiments and beneficial for animal welfare.

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