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Neonatal handling alters feeding behavior of adult rats

Authors
Journal
Physiology & Behavior
0031-9384
Publisher
Elsevier
Publication Date
Volume
80
Issue
5
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1016/j.physbeh.2003.12.009
Keywords
  • Feeding Behavior
  • Neonatal Handling
  • Tactile Stimulation
  • Palatable Food Ingestion
  • Sweet Food Ingestion
Disciplines
  • Chemistry
  • Medicine

Abstract

Abstract Stress during the neonatal period leads to a large number of behavioral and biochemical alterations in adult life. The aim of this study is to verify the effects of handling and tactile stimulation during the first 10 days of life on feeding behavior in adult rats. Litters were divided into (1) intact; (2) handled (10 min/day); and (3) handled and tactile stimulated (10 min/day). Procedures were performed on Days 1–10 after birth. When adults, rats were tested for ingestion of sweet and savory snacks. We also measured body weight, ingestion of standard lab chow, and consumption of water and 1% glucose and 1.5% NaCl solutions. Stressed rats (handling and handling+tactile stimulation groups) consumed more sweet (two-way ANOVA, P=.008) or savory snacks ( P=.001) than intact ones. This effect was observed in males and females. There were no differences in body weight, ingestion of standard lab chow, water, or in the ingestion of sweetened or salty solutions between groups. The same animals were tested later in life (15 months of age), and the effect was still evident. We suggest that handling during the neonatal period leads to alterations in the CNS of rats, causing an increased ingestion of palatable food in adult life, and this alteration probably persists throughout the whole life.

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