The present study compared the effects of thiamine (vitamin B1) deficiency (TD) on the patterns of food intake and body weight in adult female and neonatal Wistar rats. The adults weighed 250-270 g at the start and were fed for 60 days either with a synthetic TD diet (211 B1) or with the same synthetic diet+thiamine (210 B1). TD led to a marked reduction in food intake and the body weight set point, both recovering rapidly to their initial level in only 3 days after dietetic reversion. The effects of TD in developing rats were evaluated by subjecting pregnant rats to thiamine restriction during different time windows: prenatal (3 days before mating to parturition); perinatal (7 days after mating to the 10th postnatal day); and postnatal (from parturition to weaning). The effect of TD on the occurrence of low birth weight and ponderal growth retardation was examined from postnatal days 1 to 45. Only perinatal TD significantly decreased birth weight relative to untreated or pair-fed controls. Moreover, compared with the control treatments, ponderal growth retardation was not induced by prenatal TD, whereas induction of TD from perinatal into postnatal periods did cause ponderal growth retardation, with long-lasting effects persisting in adulthood. The results suggest a major physiological role of thiamine in the homeostasis of body weight programming, increment, and set point regulation in both offspring and adult female rats.