Responses to challenges of long-term regulation of feeding behavior were compared between adult and weanling female rats. Adulteration of a high fat diet with NaCl caused both adult and weanling rats to reduce their food intake, but neither group refused to eat. Food deprivation for 24 hr was followed by an increase in feeding for both adult and weanling animals during a period when food intake is normally very low. Continued limited food access to 2 hr during the light period was compensated for by an increase in the normal food intake for this period for both adult and young female rats. It was observed that both adult and weanling rats showed a marked preference for the more dilute glucose solution when given a choice. In addition, both groups maintained a constant caloric intake during presentation of the glucose solutions by adjusting their intake of a solid food source. In each challenge of long-term regulation of feeding behavior, the response of weanling animals was as good or superior to that shown by adults. It is concluded that weanling female rats regulate their feeding just as adults to maintain long-term energy balance. It was also observed that bilateral lesions placed in the ventromedial hypothalamus (VMH) at 21 days of age resulted in reduced daily food intake and retarded body weight gain. Furthermore, young rats with VMH lesions failed to respond to 24 hr of food deprivation or limited food access. These data suggest an important role for the VMH in the long-term regulation of feeding in young rats.
- Feeding behavior
- Nutritional challenges
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
- Behavioral Neuroscience