Social defeat and footshock increase body mass and adiposity in male Syrian hamsters.

Department of Psychology, Georgia State University, Atlanta, Atlanta, GA 30302-3966, USA.
AJP Regulatory Integrative and Comparative Physiology (Impact Factor: 3.28). 02/2007; 292(1):R283-90. DOI: 10.1152/ajpregu.00330.2006
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Obesity is a world-wide epidemic, and many factors, including stress, have been linked to this growing trend. After social stress (i.e., defeat), subordinate laboratory rats and most laboratory mice become hypophagic and, subsequently, lose body mass; the opposite is true of subordinate Syrian hamsters. After social defeat, Syrian hamsters become hyperphagic and gain body mass compared with nonstressed controls. It is unknown whether this increase in body mass and food intake is limited to subordinate hamsters. In experiment 1, we asked, do dominant hamsters increase food intake, body mass, and adiposity after an agonistic encounter? Subordinate hamsters increased food intake and body mass compared with nonstressed controls. Although there was no difference in food intake or absolute body mass between dominant and nonstressed control animals, cumulative body mass gain was significantly higher in dominant than in nonstressed control animals. Total carcass lipid and white adipose tissue (WAT) (i.e., retroperitoneal and epididymal WAT) masses were significantly increased in subordinate, but not dominant, hamsters compared with nonstressed controls. In experiment 2, we asked, does footshock stress increase food intake, body mass, and adiposity. Hamsters exposed to defeat, but not footshock stress, increased food intake relative to nonstressed controls. In animals exposed to defeat or footshock stress, body mass, as well as mesenteric WAT mass, increased compared with nonstressed controls. Collectively, these data demonstrate that social and nonsocial stressors increase body and lipid mass in male hamsters, suggesting that this species may prove useful for studying the physiology of stress-induced obesity in some humans.

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