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Neuroscience. 2010 Mar 10;166(1):333-40. doi: 10.1016/j.neuroscience.2009.12.013. Epub 2009 Dec 17.

Anorexia in rats caused by a valine-deficient diet is not ameliorated by systemic ghrelin treatment.

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  • 1Department of Veterinary Physiology, Miyazaki University, Miyazaki, Miyazaki 889-2192, Japan.


Rodents exhibit aversive behavior toward a diet that lacks at least one of the essential amino acids. We sought to determine whether the particular form of anorexia caused by such diets could be ameliorated by the administration of orexigenic peptides while simultaneously analyzing the neural mechanisms underlying anorexia. Rats were fed a valine-deficient diet, which induced severe anorexia (reducing food consumption by 80%). The severe anorexia was associated with a significant decrease in the cerebrospinal fluid valine concentration and hyper-ghrelinemia. Between 6 and 12 days after initiation of the valine-deficient diet, we injected rats twice daily with valine and/or an orexigenic peptide (ghrelin, neuropeptide Y, or agouti-related protein) either i.p. or i.c.v.. We then measured dietary intake. An i.c.v. valine injection allowed earlier food intake compared with an i.p valine injection and increased the density of c-Fos-positive ependymal cells lining the third ventricle. Whereas an i.c.v. injection of ghrelin or neuropeptide Y increased consumption of the valine-deficient diet, i.p injection of ghrelin or i.c.v. injection of agouti-related protein did not. Following i.c.v. administration of either valine or ghrelin, we did not observe complete recovery of consumption of the valine-deficient diet. This may be due to the ineffectiveness of peripheral ghrelin and central agouti-related protein and/or to conditioned aversion to the valine-deficient diet. Since ghrelin is known to be involved in food anticipatory activities, whether the hyper-ghrelinemia observed in valine-deficient rats play role in foraging behavior other than food intake is the future study to be investigated.

Copyright 2010 IBRO. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

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