Send to

Choose Destination
Biofactors. 2012 May-Jun;38(3):203-18. doi: 10.1002/biof.1007. Epub 2012 Apr 5.

Dietary zinc status reversibly alters both the feeding behaviors of the rats and gene expression patterns in diencephalon.

Author information

Department of Applied Biological Chemistry, Graduate School of Agricultural and Life Sciences, The University of Tokyo, Bunkyo-ku, Japan.


Nutritional status influences feeding behaviors, food preferences, and taste sensations. For example, zinc-deficient rats have been reported to show reduced and cyclic food intake patterns with increased preferences for NaCl. Although some impairments of the central nervous and endocrine systems have been speculated to be involved in these phenomena, the effects of short-term zinc deficiency on the brain have not been well examined to date. In this study, we performed a comprehensive analysis of the gene expression patterns in the rat diencephalon, which is a portion of the brain that includes the hypothalamus and thalamus, after short-term zinc deficiency and also during zinc recovery. The rats showed reduced and cyclic food intake patterns with increased salt preferences after a 10-day dietary zinc deficiency. A comparative analysis of their diencephalons using cDNA microarrays revealed that approximately 1% of the genes expressed in the diencephalons showed significantly altered expression levels. On the other hand, a 6-day zinc supplementation following the deprivation allowed for the recovery to initial food intake behaviors and salt preferences. The expression levels of most of the genes that had been altered by exposure to zinc deficient conditions were also recovered. These results show that feeding behaviors, taste preferences and gene expression patterns in the diencephalon respond quickly to changing zinc levels.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Wiley
Loading ...
Support Center