1. The effect of chronic alcohol intoxication on metabolic disturbances and fatty infiltration and degeneration was studied in genetically obese, hyperlipoproteinaemic, fa/fa Zucker rats.
2. Sixteen obese Zucker (fa/fa) rats, sixteen lean Zucker rats (Fa/-)and sixteen Wistar rats, all male rats aged 7–8 weeks, were given either a control (C)diet (13% of energy from protein, 37% from fat, 50% from carbohydrate) or an ethanol (E) diet (13% of energy from protein, 37% from fat, 14% from carbohydrate, 36% from ethanol) for 4 weeks.
3. The fa/fa rats given diet E consumed more energy than those given diet C, but after 4 weeks the weight gains and degrees of obesity were similar for both groups. With both diets, the developed hyperlipidaemia could be explained by the hyperinsulinaemia. Both hypertriglyceridaemia and hypercholesterolaemia were lower in fa/fa rats eating diet E than in those given diet C. Fatty infiltration of the liver, as assessed by hepatic triacylglycerol and cholesterol contents, was observed with both diets, but for fa/fa rats it was less extreme in those given diet E.