2007 Volume 53 Issue 2 Pages 138-144
The purpose of this study was to clarify the effects of nutrients on the gonadal development of male rats kept under constant darkness as a model of disturbed daily rhythm. The present study examined protein and vitamins, and their interactions. This study was based on three-way ANOVA; the three factors were lighting conditions, dietary protein and dietary vitamins, respectively. The levels of dietary protein were low or normal: 9% casein or 20% casein. The levels of dietary vitamins were low, normal or high: 1/3.3 of normal (AIN-93G diet) content, normal content, or three times the normal content, respectively. Other compositions were the same as those of the AIN-93G diet, and six kinds of experimental diet were prepared. Four-week-old rats (Fischer 344 strain) were kept under constant darkness or normal lighting (12-h light/dark cycle) for 4 wk. After 4 wk, the gonadal weights and serum testosterone content were evaluated. In the constant darkness groups (D-groups), the low-protein diet induced reduction of gonadal organ weights and serum testosterone concentrations. This reduction of gonadal organ weights was exacerbated by progressively higher levels of dietary vitamins. In the case of a normal-protein diet, the depression of gonadal development was not accelerated by high-vitamin intake. In the normal lighting groups (N-groups), the low-protein and high-vitamin diet slightly depressed gonadal development. These results suggest that the metabolism of protein and vitamins is different in rats being kept under constant darkness, and that excess dietary vitamins have an adverse effect on gonadal development in rats fed a low-protein diet.