Araújo Tavares, G., Cavalcanti do Amaral Almeida, L., Araújo de Souza, J. et al. 2020. Early weaning disrupts feeding patterns in female juvenile rats through 5HT-system modulations. Behavioural Processes 170, 103981.
Convergent evidence in literature shows that rapid disruption of maternal care and breastfeeding due to an early weaning protocol changes the development of several neurobehavioral patterns in rodents, including the circadian pattern of feeding. The serotoninergic system has been associated with the control of feeding patterns. Therefore, we aim to evaluate the patterns of feeding, the mRNA expression of 5 H T-1b, 5 H T-2c, and SERT on the hypothalamus, brainstem, and the body weight of female juvenile Wistar rats, submitted to early (PND15) or regular (PND30) weaning. The results demonstrate that early weaning promotes an increase in food intake in a 24 -h period, in the dark phase of the circadian cycle and in the four-hour time intervals at the beginning of the dark and light phases. Also, early weaning decreases the mRNA expression of 5 H T-1b, 5 H T-2c, and SERT on the hypothalamus, but increases it on the brainstem. Additionally, early weaning promotes an increase in body weight. Therefore, the present data demonstrate that early weaning changes the patterns of feeding in juvenile female rats and suggests that this behavioral modification is due to the modulations promoted in the 5 H T-system.