Single exposure to stressors causes long-lasting, stress-dependent reduction of food intake in rats

Astrid Vallès, Octavi Martí, Arantxa García, Antonio Armario

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108 Citations (Scopus)


A single exposure to severe stressors has been shown to cause anorexia in the next 24 h, but the duration of such alterations is not known. Male Sprague-Dawley rats were subjected to different stressors, and food intake was measured for several days after stress. In experiment 1, 2 h of immobilization (Imo) and lipopolysaccharide (LPS) administration (1,000 μg/kg) caused a marked anorexia in the 24 h after stress, which persisted on poststress day 3. In experiment 2, changes in food intake after LPS and Imo were followed until total recovery. As in experiment 1, LPS caused initially a greater degree of anorexia than Imo, but normal food intake recovered much faster (poststress day 3 vs. poststress day 9). Changing the period of exposure to Imo between 20 min and 6 h (experiment 3) only slightly modified the pattern of response to the stressor. When different doses of LPS (50, 250, and 1,000 μg/kg) were tested in experiment 4, a dose-dependent effect on food intake was observed, the greatest doses causing the most marked and lasting effect. The present results showed stressor-specific lasting changes in food intake caused by a single exposure to some stressors, the effect of a severe psychological stressor such as Imo being more lasting than that of LPS, despite a lower initial anorexia. A severe psychological stressor and a physical stressor such as LPS appear to change food intake in different ways.
Original languageEnglish
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Regulatory Integrative and Comparative Physiology
Issue number279
Publication statusPublished - 3 Oct 2000


  • Anorexia
  • Body weight gain
  • Food intake
  • Immobilization
  • Lipopolysaccharide
  • Long-lasting stress effects
  • Traumatic events


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