Journal of Applied Physiology

Effects of starvation and refeeding on elastase-induced emphysema

H. Sahebjami, M. Domino


Adult rats received pancreatic elastase (75 U/100 g) intratracheally and were divided into three groups: fed, starved, and refed. Starved rats received one-third of their measured daily food consumption until they lost 40% body weight. The refed group was fed after 40% weight loss. A control group received saline intratracheally. Saline volume-pressure curve was shifted more significantly to the left of the control group in starved than in fed rats and was superimposed in refed and fed groups. Mean linear intercept was larger and alveolar surface area was smaller in starved than in fed rats compared with the control group; both were similar in fed and refed rats. Protein and hydroxyproline content of the lung were higher in fed than in control and in starved groups; after refeeding these returned to the control values. We conclude that starvation aggravates elastase-induced injury and that refeeding results in the complete recovery of the mechanical but only partial recovery of the morphometric changes induced by starvation.