Hypophagic rats with dorsomedial hypothalamic lesions produce lighter and smaller pups with a lower survival rate at weaning than offspring of sham-operated controls

Physiol Behav. 1993 Jan;53(1):59-64. doi: 10.1016/0031-9384(93)90011-4.


Weanling and mature rats with dorsomedial hypothalamic nucleus lesions (DMNL rats) show reduced ponderal and linear growth and hypophagia and hypodipsia in the presence of normal body composition and anabolic hormone levels. The present study was conducted to assess their reproductive/parenting capacity and some offspring parameters. Four groups were used: DMNL mothers and fathers, DMNL mothers and control (SCON) fathers, SCON mothers and DMNL fathers, and SCON mothers and SCON fathers. The constituent rats of each group were bred to yield between 14 and 22 litters. The smallest litter size, litter weight, mean pup weight, percent of live-born and percent of weaned pups and greatest percentage of still-born pups were recorded when both parents were DMNL rats. The latter parents also cannibalized the majority of litters. The above parameters improved when only one parent was a DMNL rat, but this was still significantly below the offspring of SCON x SCON parents. The DMN is not part of the classical hypophysiotropic area (HTA), but earlier findings indicate hyperprolactinemia in DMNL rats. Therefore, the lesion-induced hypophagia during gestation and the postpartum neuroendocrine profile of the DMNL mothers may be the cause of the observed litter deficiencies and poor survival.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Appetite / physiology*
  • Body Composition / physiology
  • Body Weight / physiology*
  • Brain Mapping
  • Dorsomedial Hypothalamic Nucleus / physiology*
  • Eating / physiology*
  • Female
  • Litter Size / physiology*
  • Male
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy, Animal / physiology*
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley
  • Weaning