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Jeong Won Jahng  (Jahng JW) 1 Article
Adrenal gland
Highly Palatable Food during Adolescence Improves Anxiety-Like Behaviors and Hypothalamic-Pituitary-Adrenal Axis Dysfunction in Rats that Experienced Neonatal Maternal Separation
Jong-Ho Lee, Jin Young Kim, Jeong Won Jahng
Endocrinol Metab. 2014;29(2):169-178.   Published online June 26, 2014
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  • 20 Web of Science
  • 18 Crossref
AbstractAbstract PDFPubReader   

This study was conducted to examine the effects of ad libitum consumption of highly palatable food (HPF) during adolescence on the adverse behavioral outcome of neonatal maternal separation.


Male Sprague-Dawley pups were separated from dam for 3 hours daily during the first 2 weeks of birth (maternal separation, MS) or left undisturbed (nonhandled, NH). Half of MS pups received free access to chocolate cookies in addition to ad libitum chow from postnatal day 28 (MS+HPF). Pups were subjected to behavioral tests during young adulthood. The plasma corticosterone response to stress challenge was analyzed by radioimmunoassay.


Daily caloric intake and body weight gain did not differ among the experimental groups. Ambulatory activities were decreased defecation activity and rostral grooming were increased in MS controls (fed with chow only) compared with NH rats. MS controls spent less time in open arms, and more time in closed arms during the elevated plus maze test, than NH rats. Immobility duration during the forced swim test was increased in MS controls compared with NH rats. Cookie access normalized the behavioral scores of ambulatory and defecation activities and grooming, but not the scores during the elevated plus maze and swim tests in MS rats. Stress-induced corticosterone increase was blunted in MS rats fed with chow only, and cookie access normalized it.


Prolonged access to HPF during adolescence and youth partly improves anxiety-related, but not depressive, symptoms in rats that experienced neonatal maternal separation, possibly in relation with improved function of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis.


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