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Adaptive adjustments of energy intake and body fat play an important role in allowing animals' to meet the energy demands of thermoregulation during cold conditions and reproduction. Body fat is usually metabolized during lactation, which is one of the most energetically demanding activities of female mammals, however the effect of this on the energy budget and body fat regulation after lactation remains unclear. We compared the energy intake and body fat of female striped hamsters (Cricetulus barabensis) fed either a high-fat or low-fat diet for 21 days after the end of lactation (post-lactation, PL) to those of virgin controls. Serum leptin levels and the expression of hypothalamic orexigenic and anorexigenic neuropeptide genes were also measured and compared. Although lactating females consumed significantly more food, they had significantly lower body fat than virgin controls. The energy intake and body fat levels of the PL females were, however, significantly higher than those of virgin females. This was particularly true for the PL females that were fed high-fat diet. These females had significantly higher serum leptin concentrations, but lower hypothalamic leptin receptor gene expression, than virgin females. Neither orexigenic nor anorexigenic neuropeptide levels in the hypothalamus differed significantly between the PL and virgin females. This suggests that a negative energy balance during lactation drives fat accumulation after lactation. Furthermore, leptin resistance may occur after the end of lactation, causing females to consume more food, and accumulate more fat, than virgin females. Copyright © 2020 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


Jing-Xin Yu, Guang-Min Deng, Jia-Qi Xu, Jing Cao, Zhi-Jun Zhao. The energy budget and fat accumulation in striped hamsters (Cricetulus barabensis) during post-lactation. Comparative biochemistry and physiology. Part A, Molecular & integrative physiology. 2020 Nov;249:110755

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PMID: 32673739

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