The effects of chronic food restriction on hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal activity depend on morning versus evening availability of food

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Abstract

Partial food restriction (FR) protocols have been used not only to study behavioral and physiological consequences of decrease food intake, but as a necessary treatment of the animals in some operant learning tasks. It is well-established in rodents that restricting food availability to a few hours in the morning causes an alteration of the daily rhythm of corticosterone, thus making it difficult to evaluate whether or not such treatments are stressful. In the present experiment adult male Sprague-Dawley rats were subjected to two different FR schedules: food availability after 1100 h (LFR) or after 1900 h (DFR). After 14 days, animals from both groups, together with corresponding controls, were killed under resting conditions, either in the morning or in the evening, just before daily access to food in FR rats. Both FR schedules reduced body weight gain to the same extent, but their impact on the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis was different: DFR increased relative, but not absolute, adrenal weight and morning and evening levels of corticosterone, whereas LFR increased both absolute and relative adrenal weights and increased morning corticosterone levels to a greater extent than DFR rats. Neither serum ACTH nor corticotropin-releasing factor (CRF) mRNA levels in the paraventricular nucleus of the hypothalamus were altered by DFR or LFR protocols, suggesting that factors other than CRF and ACTH are involved in the control of adrenocortical secretion under FR. It appears that LFR caused more alterations in the HPA axis than DFR and, therefore, the latter FR schedule should be used in those protocols necessarily involving partial FR. © 2005 Published by Elsevier Inc.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)41-46
JournalPharmacology Biochemistry and Behavior
Volume81
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2005

Keywords

  • ACTH
  • Adrenal
  • Corticosterone
  • CRF
  • Daily rhythm
  • Food restriction
  • Stress

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