Long-term effects of feeding high carbohydrate diet in pre-weaning period by gastrostomy: a new rat model for obesity

Int J Obes Relat Metab Disord. 1993 Sep;17(9):495-502.


In the present study, we report the long-term metabolic consequences of feeding a milk substitute formula that is high in carbohydrate-derived calories during the suckling period. Male Sprague-Dawley rat pups were raised by gastrostomy on a high carbohydrate (HC) formula or a high fat (HF) formula (which mimicked rat milk composition in macronutrients) during the pre-weaning period (day 4 to 24). These rats were then weaned to a laboratory stock diet and subsequently challenged with a high sucrose diet to augment the development of obesity. The pups receiving the HC formula developed obesity in later life, even though there was no change in the body weight of this group compared to mother-fed (MF) controls or HF formula fed animals during the pre-weaning period. The HC rats were hyperinsulinemic and their growth rates were greater than MF rats starting at day 55. The lipogenic capacity of liver as well as adipose tissues (epididymal and omental) was higher in HC animals compared to MF control animals, as reflected by increases in two key lipogenic enzymes (fatty acid synthase and glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase) and in vitro synthesis of lipids. An analysis of adipose tissue morphology in adult rats showed an increase in cell size in epididymal adipose tissue of HC rats compared to the MF group. However, there was no significant difference in cell size in omental adipose tissue between the MF and HC rats. The HF group behaved similarly to the MF control group in growth pattern and measured metabolic parameters.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adipose Tissue / growth & development
  • Adipose Tissue / metabolism
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Animals
  • Animals, Suckling
  • Blood Glucose / analysis
  • Dietary Carbohydrates / administration & dosage
  • Dietary Carbohydrates / adverse effects*
  • Disease Models, Animal*
  • Gastrostomy
  • Heart / growth & development
  • Insulin / blood
  • Kidney / growth & development
  • Lipid Metabolism
  • Liver / growth & development
  • Liver / metabolism
  • Male
  • Obesity / etiology*
  • Obesity / physiopathology
  • Organ Size
  • Pancreas / growth & development
  • Random Allocation
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley*
  • Weight Gain


  • Blood Glucose
  • Dietary Carbohydrates
  • Insulin