Effects of dietary dehydroepiandrosterone on food intake and body weight in rats with medial hypothalamic knife cuts

Blake A. Gosnell

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9 Scopus citations


Dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) is a steroid which has been reported to have anti-obesity effects when added to the diets of rats and mice. In this report, rats made hyperphagic with medial hypothalamic knife cuts were placed on a diet containing 0.45% DHEA or a control diet. Knife cut rats on the control diet ate more food and gained more weight than sham-operated rats on the control diet. In contrast, knife cut rats fed the DHEA diet weighed the same as shams on the DHEA diet and were only observed to be hyperphagic on one of eight 24 hour measurements taken during a five week period. Dietary DHEA reduced food intake and body weight of both knife cut and sham-operated rats, though the effects were smaller in shams. As these effects of DHEA were reminiscent of the effects of dietary quinine adulteration on intake by knife cut rats, a second experiment measured the food intake of unoperated rats when given a choice between a control high-fat diet and one adulterated with various concentrations of DHEA. Even at a concentration of 0.05%, rats clearly identified and avoided the DHEA-adulterated diet. While these results do not rule out effects of DHEA on metabolic rate or lipogenesis, they do indicate that the unpalatability of DHEA-adulterated diets may be a contributing factor in the observed effects on food intake and body weight.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)687-691
Number of pages5
JournalPhysiology and Behavior
Issue number6
StatePublished - 1987
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
I thank Drs. Paul MacDonald and Linette Casey for their helpful comments and for providing the special pelleted diets. I also thank Mary Vaughn for secretarial assistance. This work was supported in part by NIH Grant NS23565.


  • Body weight
  • Dehydroepiandrosterone
  • Food intake
  • Knife cuts
  • Obesity


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