Neurological and stress related effects of shifting obese rats from a palatable diet to chow and lean rats from chow to a palatable diet
ABSTRACT Rats exposed to an energy rich, cafeteria diet overeat and become obese. The present experiment examined the neural and behavioural effects of shifting obese rats from this diet to chow and lean rats from chow to the cafeteria diet. Two groups of male Sprague Dawley rats (n=24) were fed either highly palatable cafeteria diet or regular chow (30% vs. 12% energy as fat) for 16 weeks. Half of each group (n=12) was then switched to the opposing diet while the remainder continued on their original diet. The effects of diet switch on the response to restraint stress were assessed and rats were euthanised nine days after diet reversal. After 16 weeks of cafeteria diet, rats were 27% heavier than controls. Rats switched from chow to cafeteria diet (Ch-Caf) became hyperphagic and had increased dopamine D1, D2 and tyrosine hydroxylase mRNA expression in the ventral tegmental area (VTA) compared to rats switched from cafeteria to chow (Caf-Ch). Caf-Ch rats were hypophagic with significant reductions in white (16%) and brown (32%) adipose tissue mass, plasma leptin (34%) and fasting glucose (22%) compared to rats remaining on the cafeteria diet (Caf-Caf). Caf-Caf rats had an elevated plasma corticosterone response to restraint stress compared to Ch-Caf rats indicating that acute but not chronic consumption of palatable cafeteria diet may protect against stress. Caf-Ch rats had increased corticotropin releasing hormone mRNA expression in the dorsal hypothalamus compared to Ch-Ch rats implying that removal of the palatable diet activated the HPA axis. The results were discussed in terms of the links between palatability of diet, obesity and stress.
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ABSTRACT: High-fat diet (HFD)-induced obesity is reaching worldwide proportions. In addition to causing obesity, HFDs also induce a variety of health disorders, which includes cognitive decline. Hippocampal function may be particularly vulnerable to the negative consequences of HFD, and it is suspected that 'primed' neuroinflammatory processes may mediate this response. To examine the link between diet, hippocampal function and neuroinflammation, male Wistar rats were fed a medium or HFD. Hippocampal memory function was measured using contextual pre-exposure fear conditioning (CPE-FC). Rats fed a HFD demonstrated impaired memory, an effect that was augmented with longer duration of HFD consumption. HFD-induced memory impairments were linked to potentiated levels of interleukin-1 beta (IL-1β) protein in the hippocampus 2 h after the foot-shock that occurs during CPE-FC. Central IL-1 receptor antagonism, with intracisterna magna (ICM) administration of hIL-1RA prior to the foot-shock prevented the diet-induced memory disruption, suggesting a critical role for IL-1β in this phenomenon. Additionally, obese animals whose diet regimen was reversed from HFD back to standard chow recovered memory function and did not demonstrate a foot-shock-induced hippocampal IL-1β increase. Interestingly, dietary reversal neutralized the negative impact of HFD on memory and IL-1β, yet animals maintained physiological evidence of obesity (increased body mass and serum leptin), indicating that dietary components, not body mass, may mediate the negative effects on memory.Brain Behavior and Immunity 07/2014; 42. DOI:10.1016/j.bbi.2014.06.017 · 6.13 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Obesity is associated with excessive consumption of palatable, energy dense foods. The present study used an animal model to examine feeding patterns during exposure to and withdrawal from these foods. Male Sprague Dawley rats were exposed to standard lab chow only (Chow rats) or a range of cafeteria-style foods eaten by people (Caf rats). After 1, 4, 7 and 10 weeks of diet in their home cage, rats were subjected to 24-hour test sessions in a Comprehensive Lab Animal Monitoring System (CLAMS). In the first two test sessions, Chow rats were exposed to standard lab chow only while Caf rats were exposed to a biscuit and high-fat chow diet. In the final two test sessions, half the rats in each group were switched to the opposing diet. In each session we recorded numbers of bouts, energy consumed per bout, and intervals between bouts across the entire 24 hours. Relative to Chow rats, Caf rats initiated fewer bouts but consumed more energy per bout; however, their motivation to feed in the CLAMS declined over time, which was attributed to reduced variety of foods relative to their home cage diet. This decline in motivation was especially pronounced among Caf rats switched from the palatable CLAMS diet to standard lab chow only: the reduced energy intake in this group was due to a modest decline in bout frequency and a dramatic decline in bout size. Exposure to a cafeteria-diet, rich in variety, altered feeding patterns, reduced rats' motivation to consume palatable foods in the absence of variety, and further diminished motivation to feed when palatable foods were withdrawn and replaced with chow. Hence, variety is a key factor in driving excessive consumption of energy dense foods, and therefore, excessive weight gain.PLoS ONE 04/2014; 9(4):e93506. DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0093506 · 3.53 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Accumulating evidence indicates integration of dopamine function with metabolic signals, highlighting a potential role for dopamine in energy balance, frequently construed as modulating reward in response to homeostatic state. Though its precise role remains controversial, the reward perspective of dopamine has dominated investigation of motivational disorders, including obesity. In the hypothesis outlined here, we suggest instead that the primary role of dopamine in behavior is to modulate activity to adapt behavioral energy expenditure to the prevailing environmental energy conditions, with the role of dopamine in reward and motivated behaviors derived from its primary role in energy balance. Dopamine has long been known to modulate activity, exemplified by psychostimulants that act via dopamine. More recently, there has been nascent investigation into the role of dopamine in modulating voluntary activity, with some investigators suggesting that dopamine may serve as a final common pathway that couples energy sensing to regulated voluntary energy expenditure. We suggest that interposed between input from both the internal and external world, dopamine modulates behavioral energy expenditure along two axes: a conserve-expend axis that regulates generalized activity and an explore-exploit axes that regulates the degree to which reward value biases the distribution of activity. In this view, increased dopamine does not promote consumption of tasty food. Instead increased dopamine promotes energy expenditure and exploration while decreased dopamine favors energy conservation and exploitation. This hypothesis provides a mechanistic interpretation to an apparent paradox: the well-established role of dopamine in food seeking and the findings that low dopaminergic functions are associated with obesity. Our hypothesis provides an alternative perspective on the role of dopamine in obesity and reinterprets the "reward deficiency hypothesis" as a perceived energy deficit. We propose that dopamine, by facilitating energy expenditure, should be protective against obesity. We suggest the apparent failure of this protective mechanism in Western societies with high prevalence of obesity arises as a consequence of sedentary lifestyles that thwart energy expenditure.Frontiers in Integrative Neuroscience 01/2012; 6:49. DOI:10.3389/fnint.2012.00049