Locomotor adaptation and elevated expression of reward-relevant genes following free-choice high-fat diet exposure
(English)Manuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
Obesity may be induced in rodents by long-term access to dietary fat. Such treatment has been reported to have behavioural effects including reduced anxiety-like behaviour and diminished operant responding for psychostimulants. It is unclear whether such effects are secondary to metabolic changes due to excess body weight, or to the extended access to palatable food reward. The aim of this study was to investigate the effects of a short palatable diet exposure (10 days) on performance in the open field test of novelty-induced locomotion and anxiety-like behaviour in rats. We subjected rats to a free-choice high-fat or high-sugar diet, or both, for a period of 10 days. Increased caloric intake was observed in all groups but body weight at Day 10 did not differ from chow-fed controls. We report that consumption of the free-choice high-fat diets was associated with higher novelty-induced activity and reduced anxiety-like behaviour in the open field test. In addition, we used RT-PCR to show that the high-fat group had 39% higher expression of mu opioid receptor in the lateral hypothalamus, and that tyrosine hydroxylase expression was elevated more than two-fold in the ventral tegmental area of rats with access to both high-fat and high-sugar. In conclusion, these results show that subchronic exposure to a free-choice high-fat diet induces behavioural adaptations such as elevated locomotor activity and attenuated experimental anxiety. The changes observed in gene expression related to reward after high-fat diet exposure indicate that these behavioural adaptations are related to reward function.
Medical and Health Sciences
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-119489OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-119489DiVA: diva2:300940