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Endocrine and behavioral parameters in stressed rats: effects of comfort foods

Grant number: 07/06340-7
Support Opportunities:Scholarships in Brazil - Master
Effective date (Start): March 01, 2009
Effective date (End): August 31, 2010
Field of knowledge:Biological Sciences - Physiology - General Physiology
Principal Investigator:Regina Celia Spadari
Grantee:Daniela Ortolani
Host Institution: Instituto de Biologia (IB). Universidade Estadual de Campinas (UNICAMP). Campinas , SP, Brazil


Stress is the organism reaction to any threat to homeostasis. The stress reaction is orchestrated by neuroendocrine mechanisms that induce structural and functional alterations, which cause modifications in the cardiovascular and endocrine systems as well as in the metabolism and behavior, in order to guarantee adaptations and survival. However, the stress reaction can lead to maladaptive responses and to death. We have shown that rats submitted to foot-shock stress present several of such alterations and that the animal loose body weight associated with reduced food ingestion. However, it is known that during stress, the individual may gain weigh instead of loosing it, mainly when he or she has access to the so called “comfort foods”. Those foods rich in carbohydrates and fat may also reduce the stress-induced anxiety. The aim of this work is to analyze endocrine and behavioral aspects of rats submitted to foot-shock stress, as well as if and how the access to comfort foods may alter the analyzed parameters. The animals’ anxiety levels will be analyzed in the elevated plus maze and open field. We will also determine the plasma levels of some hormones related to food ingestion and stress, such as insulin, leptin and corticosterone, as well as plasma levels of glucose. (AU)

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