Feeding rats with a cafeteria diet resulted in increases in total body weight and in epididymal-adipose-tissue weight. Those rats excreted significantly less N than did controls. The amount of N ingested by cafeteria-diet-fed rats was kept equal to that of controls. This decrease in N excretion is explained by a decrease in urinary excretion of urea. This may be due to the following facts. The rate of synthesis of urea from precursors by isolated hepatocytes from cafeteria-diet-fed rats was lower than in controls. In cafeteria-diet-fed rats the activities of all the enzymes of the urea cycle are decreased. The major percentage decreases are those of carbamoylphosphate synthetase (EC 6.3.4.16) and of argininosuccinate synthetase (EC 6.3.4.5), the enzymes probably involved in the regulation of the overall rate of the cycle. When rats are switched to normal chow diet, the enzyme activities return to normal values. The uptake of amino acids by liver of cafeteria-diet-fed rats is lower than in controls. These results contrast with those obtained previously by using other models of obesity in rat (i.e. genetic or hypothalamic), in which N excretion was increased.

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