Experimental dietary hepatic injury (diffuse or focal necrosis and cirrhosis in rats, with or without ascites and pleural and pericardial effusion) is determined by the dietary factors instrumental also in the production of fat infiltration of the liver and thus opposed to the lipotropic activity of casein. Accordingly, rats maintained on a diet low in casein with a moderately high or high content of fat and without choline regularly exhibited hepatic injury after between 100 and 150 days. Supplements of l-cystine had an aggravating effect on the production of cirrhosis of the liver, whereas a supplement of choline alone reduced the severity and the incidence of hepatic injury, although not decisively. The combined administration of l-cystine plus choline or of dl-methionine in adequate doses, however, proved to be highly effective in preventing injury to the liver.
These conclusions have been corroborated by the use of different modifications of the basal diet.
Rats with dietary hepatic injury exhibit, in sequence, changes that vary from diffuse necrosis resembling human acute or subacute yellow atrophy to advanced portal cirrhosis.
Diffuse necrotizing nephrosis was a frequent accompaniment of the hepatic injury. Cystine again, proved to be a factor which aggravated this condition.