Male Wistar rats were housed in cages linked to running wheels and fed on a schedule designed to reduce their body weight by 20-30%. During this period of semistarvation, rats increased their daily running wheel activity (RWA) by up to 30 km/day. RWA could be kept at this level provided that body weight was kept constant. Different α-adrenergic agonists and antagonists were tested for their effects on RWA and it was found that RWA could be suppressed only by agonists that display high affinity for the α2-receptor (clonidine and guanfacine). Neither antagonist had an effect on RWA. Clonidine's inhibiting effect on RWA was prevented by pretreatment with yohimbine, which also has high affinity for α2-receptors. From these results, we conclude that semistarvation-induced hyperactivity can be blocked by α2-agonists. In view of this result and those that were obtained in previous studies, a theoretical model for the development of semistarvation-induced hyperactivity will be presented.
Research Areas and Centers
- Academic Focus: Center for Brain, Behavior and Metabolism (CBBM)