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Regul Pept. 1999 Dec 23;85(2-3):109-13.

Cholecystokinin-8S levels in discrete hypothalamic nuclei of weanling rats exposed to maternal protein malnutrition.

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Institute of Experimental Endocrinology, Humboldt University Medical School (Charité), Berlin, Germany.


Perinatal malnutrition and growth retardation at birth are suggested to be important risk factors for the development of overweight and syndrome X in later life. Underlying mechanisms are unknown. Body weight and food intake are regulated, e.g. by hypothalamic neuropeptidergic systems which are thought to be highly vulnerable to persisting malorganization due to perinatal malnutrition. To investigate possible consequences for hypothalamic cholecystokinin-8S (CCK-8S) in the offspring, pregnant Wistar rats were fed an 8% protein diet during pregnancy and lactation (low-protein group; LP) while control mothers (CO) received a 17% protein isocaloric standard diet. LP offspring displayed underweight at birth (P < 0.05) and during suckling (P < 0.001), while leptin levels were not altered. At weaning, under basal conditions CCK-8S was decreased in LP offspring in the paraventricular hypothalamic nucleus and arcuate hypothalamic nucleus (P < 0.05), as well as in the dorsomedial hypothalamic nucleus, lateral hypothalamic area and ventromedial hypothalamic nucleus (P < 0.01). In summary, these data indicate (1) an inhibition of the satiety peptide CCK-8S in main regulators of body weight and food intake in low-protein malnourished newborn rats; (2) no direct relationship of hypothalamic CCK-8S to circulating leptin at this age; and (3) no neurochemical signs of hypothalamic CCKergic dysregulation in this animal model at the age of weaning.

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