Aphagia, behavior sequencing and body weight set point following orbital frontal lesions in rats

Physiol Behav. 1977 Jul;19(1):93-103. doi: 10.1016/0031-9384(77)90165-2.


Discrete lesions were made in the orbital frontal neocortex of rats and eating, drinking, sensorimotor responsiveness, and sequencing of motor acts were studied. Duration of aphagia was related to palatability/texture of food. Rats were aphagic for a mean of two days to palatable cookie mash presented on a spatula, six days to a high fat diet mash presented in a 4 cm high dish and for seven days to dry laboratory food. Water drinking was resumed with injestion of dry food. Rats presurgically fattened to 120% of body weight appeared stuporous and akinetic for 2-3 postoperative days, and the period for acceptance of food in tall tests was protracted. Rats presurgically dieted to 80% of normal body weight did not show accelerated recovery of feeding. Preoperatively normal, fattened and dieted rats assumed a chronic postoperative body weight level 25% lower than control rats. Rats with lesions showed sensorimotor neglect when tested on an open table top, but did not show neglect when tested in their home cages. In grooming tests, rats with lesions showed all of the components of normal grooming, but failed to exhibit the long chains of grooming characteristics of control rats. They also showed attenuated tongue extension and had difficulty manipulating food with the forepaws. The experiments suggest that following orbital frontal lesions, motor impairments, motor sequencing dysfunctions, change in body weight set point, and depending upon the test situation, sensorimotor neglect, may all be contributing factors to aphagia. The orbital frontal cortex may influence feeding and other behaviors via descending neural projections to the hypothalamus and branistem.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Body Weight / physiology*
  • Brain Mapping
  • Brain Stem / physiology
  • Drinking / physiology*
  • Eating / physiology*
  • Energy Metabolism / physiology*
  • Frontal Lobe / physiology*
  • Grooming / physiology
  • Hypothalamus / physiology
  • Male
  • Neural Pathways / physiology
  • Prefrontal Cortex / physiology*
  • Psychomotor Performance / physiology
  • Rats
  • Rats, Long-Evans
  • Serial Learning / physiology*
  • Taste / physiology*