The triglyceride, cholesterol, and phospholipid contents of heart papillary muscle were measured in groups of obviously healthy and diseased females and males on whom either routine or forensic necropsies were performed. In healthy men the triglyceride content was 1·77 ± 1·30 mg/g of wet weight and in women 1·25 ± 0·48 mg/g wet weight. The corresponding values for cholesterol were 1·07 ± 0·24 mg/g and 1·21 ± 0·22 mg/g and those for phospholipids 17·70 ± 5·15 mg/g and 19·65 ± 10·21 mg/g. The differences between the sexes were not significant.
The hypertensive or cardiac hypertrophy group had about the same or slightly lower means for lipid content.
In the cholelithiasis group, women had significantly high triglyceride values (3·38 ± 2·36 mg/g). The cholesterol values were not significantly elevated in either men or women.
In the diabetic group, triglycerides were significantly increased both in men (mean 8·12 ± 0·54 mg/g) and in women (6·85 ± 5·66 mg/g). The cholesterol mean values were also high in both sexes, but the rise was not significant because of the great variation.
In the coronary atheroma group, both male and female hospital cases had high triglyceride contents (mean 4·48 ± 4·25 mg/g and 3·65 ± 3·94 mg/g) whereas the forensic cases had only slightly elevated or normal values. Cholesterol assays paralleled the triglyceride ones, but phospholipids showed an inverse trend.
The results showed that the lipid content of papillary muscle was increased in diseases where disturbances of lipid metabolism are evident, as in diabetes and cholelithiasis. In coronary atheroma only those cases with advanced obstruction of the arteries were associated with abnormal values of papillary lipids. No increase of the lipid content with age alone was found, nor was there any correlation with obesity.
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