Hypothalamic implants of dilute estradiol fail to reduce feeding in ovariectomized rats

Physiol Behav. 2002 Nov;77(2-3):233-41. doi: 10.1016/s0031-9384(02)00857-0.


To investigate further the site where estradiol (E(2)) inhibits food intake, we tested the effects on feeding of subcutaneous and intrahypothalamic implants of 10% E(2) benzoate in cholesterol (CHOL) or CHOL alone. E(2) was implanted subcutaneously in Silastic tubes, and intrahypothalamically via bilateral 29-gauge cannulas into the paraventricular nucleus (PVN) or the medial preoptic area (MPA) of ovariectomized (OVX) Sprague-Dawley and Long-Evans rats. Three-day implant periods followed 3-day baseline periods. Rats were allowed ad libitum access to chow and tap water, and food intake and body weight were measured each day. Subcutaneous 10% E(2) implants in Sprague-Dawley rats reduced food intake 21% on Day 2 and 34% on Day 3 (P's<.01) and decreased 3-day body weight gain 11 g (P<.05). In contrast, 10% E(2) implants in the PVN of Sprague-Dawley rats did not change food intake or body weight. Implants of 10% or 20% E(2) in the MPA also failed to decrease food intake. MPA implants of 10% E(2) decreased body weight gain 8 g (P<.05), but MPA implants of 20% E(2) decreased weight gain only 4 g (P>.05). To determine whether the strain of rat affected our negative results on food intake, we implanted 10% E(2) into the PVN of Long-Evans rats. Again, PVN E(2) did not decrease food intake significantly in comparison to the pretest baseline. PVN E(2) did, however, decrease body weight gain 5 g and decreased food intake 6% compared to rats with implants of CHOL (both P<.05), but these effects appeared to be due to an increase in feeding in the CHOL group in comparison to their baseline. Finally, CHOL and E(2) implants did not impair the responsivity of the PVN because acute implants of norepinephrine (NE) into the PVN of E(2)- or CHOL-treated Long-Evans rats significantly increased food intake. Our results do not support the hypothesis that E(2)'s actions in either the PVN or the MPA are sufficient to account for its inhibitory effects on feeding.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Body Weight / drug effects
  • Drug Implants
  • Eating / drug effects*
  • Estradiol / administration & dosage
  • Estradiol / pharmacology*
  • Female
  • Hypothalamus / physiology*
  • Microinjections
  • Ovariectomy*
  • Paraventricular Hypothalamic Nucleus / physiology
  • Pregnancy
  • Preoptic Area / physiology
  • Rats
  • Rats, Long-Evans
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley
  • Receptors, Estrogen / metabolism
  • Ventromedial Hypothalamic Nucleus / physiology


  • Drug Implants
  • Receptors, Estrogen
  • Estradiol