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Levels of catecholamines and 5-hydroxytryptamine and eating behavior in lateral hypothalamic aphagic rats

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Male rats injected with 6-hydroxydopamine in the lateral hypothalamus did not eat food pellets but ingested an intraorally infused nutritive solution. This 'intraoral intake test' activates consummatory ingestive behavior, the responses used to ingest food, but ignores appetitive ingestive behavior. If given three daily intraoral intake tests, 6-hydroxydopamine-treated rats defended a low body weight, and they were oversensitive to the inhibitory effect of cholecystokinin octapeptide. The concentration of dopamine in the dorsal and ventral striatum was decreased by > 75%, 13 days after the 6-hydroxydopamine treatment, whereas the effect in the frontal cortex was less pronounced. The concentration of noradrenaline and 5-hydroxytryptamine was somewhat less affected, while that of glutamate and cholecystokinin octapeptide was markedly less affected by the 6-hydroxydopamine lesion. Feeding behavior and body weight regulatory competence is, thus, in part retained in rats with massive damage to dopamine neural networks. It is suggested that these networks are not required for consummatory but for appetitive ingestive behavior and for proper perception of the sensory and hormonal signals from the gastrointestinal tract.


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