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Am J Physiol. 1984 Dec;247(6 Pt 2):R979-87.

Dietary obesity and neonatal sympathectomy. I. Effects on body composition and brown adipose.


The effect of neonatal sympathectomy with guanethidine (50 mg/kg for 3 wk) on the development of diet-induced obesity (DIO) was assessed by raising guanethidine-(G) or saline-treated (S) Sprague-Dawley rats in small litters (4-5 pups/dam) and feeding a high-calorie diet from weaning (n = 29-30) or by raising similarly treated rats in normal litters (10 pups/dam) and feeding chow from weaning (n = 29-30). Sympathectomy depleted norepinephrine (NE) levels 65-98% in all organs except the adrenals and brain but had no statistically significant effect on weight gain, food intake, food efficiency, body composition, plasma glycerol, insulin, or glucose, or on basal rectal temperatures in either diet group; there was a tendency toward increased adiposity in sympathectomized rats. Despite 95-98% depletion of NE in interscapular brown adipose tissue (IBAT), sympathectomy affected only the percentage of multilocular cells that was decreased 46-69%. Rats from small litters in both treatment groups (S and G) became obese without increased food intake (increased food efficiency), had heavier IBAT pads with bigger cells and more lipid, and were also hyperlipidemic, hyperinsulinemic, and hyperglycemic compared with controls. Therefore neonatal sympathectomy was not as significant in the subsequent development of DIO as were diet and litter size.

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