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Endocrinology. 2005 Apr;146(4):1676-85. Epub 2004 Dec 29.

Running wheel activity prevents hyperphagia and obesity in Otsuka long-evans Tokushima Fatty rats: role of hypothalamic signaling.

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Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, 720 Rutland Avenue, Ross 618, Baltimore, Maryland 21205, USA.


Otsuka Long-Evans Tokushima fatty (OLETF) rats lacking cholecystokinin-A receptors are hyperphagic, obese, and diabetic. Although exercise attenuates OLETF rats' obesity, the mechanisms underlying the effects of exercise are unclear. In this study, we determined the effects of running wheel activity on patterns of body weight gain, food intake, and hypothalamic gene expression. We demonstrate that voluntary running activity beginning at 8 wk of age normalized meal patterns, food intake, body weight, and plasma levels of glucose and leptin in OLETF rats. During the initial exercise period, corticotropin-releasing factor (CRF) mRNA expression was significantly elevated in the dorsomedial hypothalamus (DMH) but not in the paraventricular nucleus in both OLETF and control Long-Evans Tokushima rats. In response to long-term exercise, arcuate nucleus (Arc) neuropeptide Y (NPY), and proopiomelanocortin as well as DMH NPY and CRF mRNA expression were increased in Long-Evans Tokushima rats. In contrast, whereas exercising OLETF rats had increased Arc NPY and DMH CRF expression, Arc proopiomelanocortin and DMH NPY mRNA levels were not elevated. Finally, we demonstrate that the effects of exercise on body weight in OLETF rats were long lasting. Although food intake and body weight were increased in OLETF rats when running wheels were locked, weights did not return to those of sedentary OLETF rats. Together, these data suggest that the elevation of DMH CRF expression may mediate the short-term feeding inhibitory effects of exercise and that exercise limits the elevation of DMH NPY expression to account for the overall prevention of OLETF rats' obesity.

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