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Some nutritional studies on the naturally occurring alpha-glyceryl ethers Carlson, Walter Eric

Abstract

A possible nutritional role for certain of the naturally occurring α-glyceryl ethers has been investigated. Batyl, selachyl and chimyl alcohols have been administered per orum for extended periods to growing dogs and rats at various dosage levels to ascertain if these compounds produce inimical or favourable effects in terms of growth and haematopoietic responses. Groups of male and female dogs and rats maintained on normal rations were given daily doses of each of the three alcohols at a level of 6 mgs per kilogram of body weight for 180 days. There was no evidence to suggest that these compounds produced harmful effects. Histopathological study of the major tissue system confirmed this conclusion. A favourable response in the form of a slightly increased growth rate was noted in the female rats that received the selachyl alcohol. No evidence of a haematopoietic effect was obtained. In a second experiment, selachyl alcohol was offered as an addendum to a normal ration, to both dogs and rats at levels that ensured a daily consumption of 600 and 2400 mg per kilogram of body weight of this alcohol for a period of sixty days. Other groups of both species received batyl alcohol at the higher dosage level (2400 mg per kilogram of body weight) daily for the same time period. The results obtained suggest that both compounds when fed at the 2400 mg per kilogram level interfered with the digestibility of the ration offered and, in so doing, reduced the growth rate of the experimental dogs. A corresponding effect did not occur in the rats. Both alcohols, when administered at the highest dosage level, induced an increase in the reticulocyte count in the blood of the dogs and an increase in the percentage of nucleated red blood cells in the bone marrow smears prepared from the rats. A glyceryl ether-free synthetic ration supplemented with 0.5, 5 and 50 mg of batyl alcohol per kilogram of body weight was prepared and then offered to groups of young growing rats for a period of five weeks. No growth response was obtained at any level, suggesting that this compound does not have a nutritional function or that the rat is able to synthesize the compound at a rate that is adequate to permit near maximum growth. It is also possible that the animals had sufficient reserves of compounds of this type to permit growth at the measured rate.

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