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Am J Physiol. 1996 Apr;270(4 Pt 2):R864-72.

Consequences of weight cycling in obese spontaneously hypertensive rats.

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Department of Medicine, Case Western Reserve School of Medicine, St. Luke's Medical Center, Cleveland, Ohio 44106-4982, USA.


We mimicked human weight cycling in the obese spontaneously hypertensive rat (SHROB) model of genetic obesity. A 12-day very low calorie diet (VLCD; 16.7% of baseline calories) was alternated with 4-6 wk of ad libitum chow refeeding for three cycles. Control SHROB ate chow ad libitum. VLCD induced rapid weight loss, but during refeeding all the lost weight was regained. Final body weight was higher in cycled rats than in ad libitum controls (149 +/- 5 vs. 117 +/- 7% of initial baseline). Less weight was lost as a percent of starting body weight during each successive VLCD, which could not be explained by aging. At death, retroperitoneal fat pads were heavier in cycled SHROB than in ad libitum controls (62 +/- 3 vs. 44 +/- 4 g). During the first 2 days after each VLCD, cycled rats overate significantly relative to ad libitum controls (88 +/- 2 vs. 78 +/- 3 kcal/day), but cumulative food intake throughout the duration of the experiment did not differ (11.4 +/- 0.6 vs. 11.7 +/- 0.1 Mcal). Compared with ad libitum-fed rats, food efficiency (g body wt gain/kcal) was increased during each refeeding period. Weight cycling elevated blood pressure above the initial baseline throughout refeeding. Refeeding hypertension was abolished by ganglionic blockade with chlorisondamine. Thus weight cycling in SHROB exacerbates obesity, metabolic efficiency, abdominal fat accumulation, sympathetic activity, and hypertension.

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