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Nutr Neurosci. 2004 Jun;7(3):177-84.

Hypothalamic nuclei nitric oxide synthase expression in rats malnourished during early lactation period.

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Departamento de Farmacologia e Psicobiologia, Instituto de Biologia Roberto Alcântara Gomes, Universidade do Estado do Rio de Janeiro, Av. 28 de setembro, 87, fds, 5 andar, 20551-030 Rio de Janeiro, RJ, Brasil.


In humans and other animals, it has been shown that protein malnutrition during the prenatal period leads to permanent changes, which in adulthood may cause chronic diseases. Molecules involved in the control of energy metabolism could be targets to alterations caused by nutritional status. Some hypothalamic nuclei as the paraventricular (PVN), ventro-medial and arcuate are related to energy metabolism regulation. Orexigenic and anorexigenic molecules are involved in this regulation. Some studies have showed that these nuclei present nitric oxide synthase (NOS) and that it is increased in obese rats. Recently it had been shown that rats malnourished during the lactation period presented metabolic alterations that persist in adulthood. The aim of this work was to study the expression of NOS in hypothalamic nuclei of rats submitted to malnutrition during the early lactation period. Rats from post-natal day (P10) to P90 were used. Control dams were fed with regular chow pellets and diet dams were fed with protein-free chow pellets during the first 10 days of lactation. NADPH-diaphorase or immunostaining techniques were used to access NOS expression in hypothalamic nuclei. Our results show a delay in NOS expression in the PVN and VMH of malnourished rats. It may affect the development of the hypothalamic circuitry, leading to a metabolic imprinting.

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