Diurnal and nocturnal nursing behavior in the OLETF rat

Mariana Schroeder, Yael Lavi-Avnon, Michal Dagan, Orna Zagoory-Sharon, Aron Weller, Timothy H. Moran

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


The Otsuka Long Evans Tokushima Fatty (OLETF) rat model of obesity has been recently found to develop hyperphagia and obesity early in life. Our goal was to investigate the dams' nursing behavior during the day and the night in order to elucidate their contribution to the pre-obesity of the pups. We examined nursing bout number, length, posture, initiative, nursing total time and frequency of other maternal behaviors over the three postpartum (PP) weeks. In the first week, OLETF dams nursed more during the day and presented more self-directed activities during the night. In the third PP week, OLETF dams displayed increased nursing time, bout number, nursing frequency, and supine postures at the beginning of the nursing episodes and less active self-directed behaviors, both day and night, while OLETF pups displayed more initiative in starting nursing bouts. The results suggest a circadian difference in nursing behavior and self-directed activities between the strains on PP week 1 and a strong influence of the OLETF pups on the nursing behavior of the dam on PP week 3, which contributes to their obese features.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)323-333
Number of pages11
JournalDevelopmental Psychobiology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Apr 2007


  • CCK
  • Maternal behavior
  • Nursing
  • Obesity


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