Comparison of the behavioral and metabolic effects of chronic 10% sucrose drink consumption in Albino and Hooded Wistar rats. (#219)
The metabolic consequences of providing rats with extended access to sugar solutions have varied across studies. The first stage of this study sought to determine the extent to which strain differences are responsible for such variation. Exposure to sugar solutions can also have behavioral consequences, some similar to those produced by drugs of abuse. Thus, the aim of the second stage was to test whether sucrose consumption would impact on reward-oriented behavior. In Stage 1 (8 weeks) Albino and Hooded Wistar rats had 24-h access to 10% sucrose solution in addition to their normal diet and water; controls were not given sucrose. The sucrose treatment elevated fasting blood glucose and resistance to insulin in both strains, but only increased weight gain in Albino rats. In Stage 2 (6 weeks) access to sucrose was ended and access to food was restricted in order to train lever-pressing prior to an outcome devaluation ( by specific satiety) test of habit formation. Treatment in Stage 1 had no effect on habit formation, but responding by sucrose-fed Albino rats was the least affected by pre-feeding. Furthermore, despite 6 weeks of abstinence from sucrose, sucrose-induced obesity in Albino rats persisted throughout behavioral testing, while disturbances to blood glucose and insulin resolved to control levels 1 and 3 weeks after the removal of sucrose. At cull retroperitoneal fat reserves, but not liver triglyceride content, were significantly greater in sucrose-fed rats. In conclusion, this study demonstrates that the behavioral and metabolic effects of sucrose consumption vary with strain. The effects observed in the sucrose-fed Albino group indicate a relationship between sucrose-induced obesity and food-seeking behavior.