Cirrhosis of the liver was produced in rats by feeding a diet low in protein (4 per cent casein) and deficient in lipotropic factors. The degree of liver cirrhosis was determined from specimens obtained at biopsy. Comparable groups of animals then were treated with diets containing 4 per cent casein and 30 per cent casein. The 4 per cent casein diets were supplemented with choline and methionine; the 30 per cent casein diets were fed with and without added choline.
On supplementing the low protein diet with choline and methionine the animals remained feeble, their growth remained stunted, and their livers showed signs of progressive cirrhosis. In contrast, animals fed the higher protein diet (with or without added choline) grew normally, and their livers showed signs indicating arrest and regression of the disease process.
These studies suggest that the feeding of high protein (30 per cent casein) diets to rats with nutritional cirrhosis produces reparative effects greater than those attributable to the supplements choline and methionine.