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Pharmacol Biochem Behav. 1979 May;10(5):717-21.

Juvenile-onset obesity and deficits in caloric regulation in MSG-treated rats.


Caloric regulation and the development of obesity were examined in rats which had received parenteral injections of monosodium glutamate (MSG) as neonates. Rats were injected with either 2 mg/g or 4 mg/g MSG on alternate days for the first 20 days of life. Lee Indices of obesity were calculated at 22, 70, and 130 days of age. Animals in the 4 mg/g group were significantly more obese than controls at all three ages. However, both food intake and body weight of this group were significantly lower than those of controls. In adulthood, the ability to regulate caloric intake was tested by allowing animals access to diets of varying caloric densities. While control animals maintained relatively constant caloric intakes across dietary conditions, MSG-treated animals demonstrated an inability to respond to caloric challenges. Treated animals decreased caloric intake on a diluted diet and consumed more calories than controls when presented with a calorically dense diet. This inability to regulate caloric intake is compared with regulatory deficits observed in animals sustaining lesions of the ventromedial hypothalamus. The value of an animal model of juvenile-onset obesity is also discussed.

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