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Anais Brasileiros de Dermatologia

Print version ISSN 0365-0596


LEITE, Saulo Nani et al. Experimental models of malnutrition and its effect on skin trophism. An. Bras. Dermatol. [online]. 2011, vol.86, n.4, pp.681-688. ISSN 0365-0596.

BACKGROUND: The skin requires adequate levels of nutrients to function properly. OBJECTIVE: To analyze skin trophism in well-nourished and undernourished rats using two models of malnutrition. METHODS: In the marasmus model, 60 Wistar rats were kept on a controlled diet, 30 being randomly selected to receive half the established diet for 60 days. In the gelatin model, 60 rats were used, 30 of which received a diet consisting of poor quality protein (gelatin) for 30 days. The nutritional status of the animals was evaluated according to body mass index, clinical signs and serum albumin measurement. After the period of malnutrition, histology was performed on the animals' skin to analyze the thickness of the dermis and epidermis using the Leica Application Suite software. Collagen was analyzed on slides stained with Gömöri trichrome using the ImageJ software program. RESULTS: The body mass index of the malnourished animals in the marasmus and gelatin groups was significantly lower than that of the well-nourished animals in the two groups (p<0.0001 in both models). With respect to serum albumin, there was no difference between the groups in either of the two models. In relation to the histological analysis of skin thickness, the dermis of the malnourished animals was significantly thinner compared to that of the well-nourished animals (p<0.0001 in both models). The percentage of collagen was lower in the malnourished animals compared to the well-nourished animals (p<0.0005 and p<0.003 in the marasmus and gelatin model, respectively). CONCLUSIONS: Skin thickness measurements were lower in the malnourished animals in both models, and this finding was histologically confirmed by the lower percentage of collagen, showing the negative effect of malnutrition on skin trophism

Keywords : Collagen; gelatin; image processing, computer-assisted; nutritional marasmus; public health; skin.

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