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Auton Neurosci. 2006 Jun 30;126-127:81-92. Epub 2006 Mar 29.

Altered feeding behaviour induced by long-term cisplatin in rats.

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Universidad Rey Juan Carlos, Spain.


In animals without the emetic reflex, several emetogenic stimuli induce pica, an altered feeding behaviour consisting of the ingestion of non-nutritive substances. The development of pica in response to an emetogenic stimulus has been proposed to be useful as an indirect marker of nausea in the rat. In fact, like nausea and emesis in humans, it is accompanied by serotonin release from the enterochromaffin cells, increased c-fos labelling in the area postrema and the nucleus tractus solitarius, and a delay in gastric emptying. Furthermore, pica, measured as kaolin intake, is reduced by anti-emetic drugs. Pica has been demonstrated after single doses of cisplatin, the most emetogenic chemotherapeutic drug. However, cisplatin, as other antineoplastic drugs, is generally given in cycles, where conventional anti-emetics tend to lose efficiency. The aim of this work was to evaluate the pica induced by long-term treatment with cisplatin. Saline or cisplatin was administered once a week for 5 consecutive weeks, and temperature, body weight, food ingestion and kaolin intake were measured on a daily basis. The influence of isolation (pica is necessarily studied in isolated animals) and exposure to kaolin (basal kaolin intake could modify pica itself and other parameters) on temperature, body weight and daily food ingestion was negligible in saline-treated rats. Cisplatin administered at 3 mg/kg/week was too toxic: it produced hypothermia, weight drop and anorexia in both grouped and isolated rats, and 50% mortality in isolated animals. Toxicity associated with cisplatin administered at 1 mg/kg/week was acceptable, with a slower rate of weight gain being the major effect. In these rats, each cisplatin injection produced both acute anorexia and rebound hyperphagic responses. In addition, each administration induced both acute pica and an increase in basal kaolin intake, resembling the development of nausea in humans. This model could be useful for studying both the mechanisms leading to nausea associated with a long-term antineoplastic treatment and the efficiency of new anti-emetic drugs.

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