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Am J Physiol. 1998 Feb;274(2):R412-9. doi: 10.1152/ajpregu.1998.274.2.R412.

Defense of differing body weight set points in diet-induced obese and resistant rats.

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Neurology Service, Veterans Affairs Medical Center, East Orange 07018, USA.


Among outbred Sprague-Dawley rats, approximately one-half develop diet-induced obesity (DIO) and one-half are diet resistant (DR) on a diet relatively high in fat and energy content (HE diet). Here we examined the defense of body weight in these two phenotypes. After HE diet for 13 wk, followed by chow for 6 wk, DR rats gained weight comparably but their plasma leptin levels fell to 54% of chow-fed controls. When a palatable liquid diet (Ensure) was added for 13 wk, other DR rats became obese. But when switched to chow, their intakes fell by 60%, and body and retroperitoneal (RP) fat pad weights and plasma leptin and insulin levels all declined for 2 wk and then stabilized at control levels after 6 wk. In contrast, comparably obese DIO rats decreased their intake by only 20%, and their weights plateaued when they were switched to chow after 13 wk on HE diet. When a subgroup of these DIO rats was restricted to 60% of prior intake, their weights fell to chow-fed control levels over 2 wk. But their leptin and insulin levels both fell disproportionately to 30% of controls. When no longer restricted, their intake and feed efficiency rose immediately, and their body and RP pad weights and leptin and insulin levels rose to those of unrestricted DIO rats within 2 wk. Thus diet and genetic background interact to establish high (DIO) or low (DR) body weight set points, which are then defended against subsequent changes in diet composition and/or energy availability. If leptin affects energy homeostasis, it does so differentially in DIO vs. DR rats since comparably low and high levels were associated with differing patterns of weight change between the two phenotypes.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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