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Defense of body weight depends on dietary composition and palatability in rats with diet-induced obesity.

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  • 1Neurology Service (127C), Veterans Affairs Medical Center, East Orange, NJ 07018-1095, USA.


Sprague-Dawley rats selectively bred for diet-induced obesity (DIO) or diet resistance (DR) were characterized on diets of differing energy content and palatability. Over 10 wk, DR rats on a high-energy (HE) diet (31% fat) gained weight similarly to DR rats fed chow (4.5% fat), but they became obese on a palatable liquid diet (Ensure). DIO rats gained 22% more weight on an HE diet and 50% more on Ensure than chow-fed DIO rats. DIO body weight gains plateaued when switched from HE diet to chow. But, Ensure-fed DIO rats switched to chow spontaneously reduced their intake and weight to that of rats switched from HE diet to chow. They also reduced their hypothalamic proopiomelanocortin and dynorphin but not neuropeptide Y mRNA expression by 17-40%. When reexposed to Ensure after 7 wk, they again overate and matched their body weights to rats maintained on Ensure throughout. All Ensure-fed rats had a selective reduction in dynorphin mRNA in the ventromedial hypothalamic nucleus. Thus genetic background, diet composition, and palatability interact to produce disparate levels of defended body weight and central neuropeptide expression.

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