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Neurosci Lett. 2006 Jun 12;400(3):240-5. Epub 2006 Mar 13.

High-fat hyperphagia in neurotrophin-4 deficient mice reveals potential role of vagal intestinal sensory innervation in long-term controls of food intake.

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Behavioral Neurogenetics Laboratory, Department of Psychological Sciences, 703 Third Street, Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN 47907, USA.


Neurotrophin-4 (NT-4) deficient mice exhibit substantial loss of intestinal vagal afferent innervation and short-term deficits in feeding behavior, suggesting reduced satiation. However, they do not show long-term changes in feeding or body weight because of compensatory behaviors. The present study examined whether high-fat hyperphagia induction would overcome compensation and reveal long-term effects associated with the reduced vagal sensory innervation of NT-4 mutants. First, modifications of a feeding schedule previously developed in rats were examined in wild-type mice to identify the regimen most effective at producing hyperphagia. The most successful schedule, which was run for 26 days, included access to a 43%-fat diet and pelleted chow every other day and access to only powdered chow on the alternate days. On high-fat access days mice consumed 25% more calories than mice with continuous daily access to the same high-fat diet and pelleted chow. This feeding regimen also induced hyperphagia in NT-4 deficient mice and their wild-type controls: on high-fat exposure days mutants consumed 35% more calories relative to continuous-access mutants, and wild types ate 25% more than continuous-access wild types. Moreover, on high-fat access days the alternating NT-4 mutants significantly increased caloric intake by 9% compared to alternating wild types. Thus, high-fat hyperphagia appeared to override compensation, permitting short-term changes in meal consumption by mutants that accrued into long-term changes in total daily food intake. This raises the possibility that intestinal vagal sensory innervation contributes to long-term, as well as to short-term regulation of food intake.

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