We assessed differences in food reinforced behavior between obese and lean Zucker rats with a progressive ratio schedule 3 (PR3) in which a subject emitted three additional lever-presses each time a reinforcer was delivered. The number of responses required for a reinforcer eventually exceeded its value, termed the 'break point', a sensitive measure of food motivated behavior. Break points were higher in obese rats than lean controls for grain pellets (27.5 versus 9.5, P=0.01) but not for sweet pellets (51.6 versus 38.5, P=0.31). We determined if naloxone (0.01-3.0 mg/kg, SC), which reduces free food intake in obese Zucker rats, affects food motivated behavior in obese Zuckers and lean controls. Naloxone reduced break points in both obese and lean rats to a similar extent when working for either grain pellets or sweet pellets. Under free-access feeding conditions, naloxone again decreased pellet intake similarly in the obese and lean Zucker rats. Naloxone appeared to decrease free-access pellet consumption to a greater extent than break point in both groups. These results show that (1) obese rats exhibit higher levels of performance for food than lean rats only when working for the less valued grain pellet, (2) naloxone reduces both break points and free-access pellet consumption independent of genotype, and (3) naloxone appears to decrease food more effectively in rats given free access to food than in rats working for food.
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Acknowledgements This work was supported by the Department of Veterans Affairs, by National Institute of Drug Abuse Grants DA-03999, and TA-DA-07097, and by the National Institutes of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Disease Grants DK-42698 and P30-DK-50456.
- Operant behavior
- Zucker rat