Long-term obesity levels in female OLETF rats following time-specific post-weaning food restriction

Mariana Schroeder, Vered Gelber, Timothy H. Moran, Aron Weller

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12 Scopus citations


Obesity and the metabolic syndrome represent serious health threats affecting increasing numbers of individuals, with females being more affected than males and with growing incidence among children and adolescents. In the present study, we used the OLETF rat model of early-onset obesity to examine the influence of different timing of food restriction on long-term obesity levels in females. Food restriction took place at different time windows: from weaning until postnatal day (PND) 45 (early); from weaning until PND90 (chronic); or from PND45 until PND70 (late). Follow-up continued until PND90. During and after the termination of the diet-restriction period, we focused on peripheral adiposity-related measures such as fat pad weight (brown, retroperitoneal and inguinal); inguinal adipocyte size and number; and leptin, oxytocin and glucose levels. We also examined body weight, feeding efficiency, spontaneous intake after release from diet-restriction, and plasma creatinine levels and estrous cycle characteristics as a result of the chronic diet. The results suggest that while food restriction produced significant weight and adiposity loss, OLETF females presented poor weight loss retention after the early and late short-term diets. The estrous cycle structure and time of first estrous of the OLETF rats were normalized by chronic food restriction. Females responded to early food restriction in a different manner than males did in previous studies, further emphasizing the importance of sex-appropriate approaches in the investigation and treatment of the pathologies related to obesity and the metabolic syndrome.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)844-853
Number of pages10
JournalHormones and Behavior
Issue number5
StatePublished - Nov 2010


  • Animal models
  • Early onset obesity
  • Obesity
  • Pair feeding


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