Effects of sugar rich diet on brain serotonin, hyperphagia and anxiety in animal model of both genders

Pak J Pharm Sci. 2016 May;29(3):757-63.


Lower levels of 5-hydroxytryptamine (5-HT; serotonin) in the brain elicit sugar craving, while ingestion of sugar rich diet improves mood and alleviates anxiety. Gender differences occur not only in brain serotonin metabolism but also in a serotonin mediated functional responses. The present study was therefore designed to investigate gender related differences on the effects of long term consumption of sugar rich diet on the metabolism of serotonin in the hypothalamus and whole brain which may be relevant with the hyperphagic and anxiety reducing effects of sugar rich diet. Male and female rats were fed freely on a sugar rich diet for five weeks. Hyperphagic effects were monitored by measuring total food intake and body weights changes during the intervention. Anxiolytic effects of sugar rich diet was monitored in light-dark transition test. The results show that ingestion of sugar rich diet decreased serotonin metabolism more in female than male rats. Anxiolytic effects were elicited only in male rats. Hyperphagia was comparable in both male and female rats. Finings would help in understanding the role of sugar rich diet-induced greater decreases of serotonin in sweet craving in women during stress.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Animal Nutritional Physiological Phenomena
  • Animals
  • Anxiety*
  • Craving
  • Dietary Carbohydrates / administration & dosage*
  • Dietary Carbohydrates / toxicity
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Down-Regulation
  • Eating
  • Energy Intake
  • Feeding Behavior
  • Female
  • Food Preferences
  • Hyperphagia / etiology
  • Hyperphagia / metabolism*
  • Hyperphagia / physiopathology
  • Hyperphagia / psychology
  • Hypothalamus / metabolism*
  • Hypothalamus / physiopathology
  • Male
  • Motor Activity
  • Rats, Wistar
  • Serotonin / metabolism*
  • Sex Factors
  • Time Factors
  • Weight Gain


  • Dietary Carbohydrates
  • Serotonin