Development of obesity in the Otsuka Long-Evans Tokushima Fatty rat

Mariana Schroeder, Orna Zagoory-Sharon, Liat Shbiro, Asaf Marco, Jayson Hyun, Timothy H. Moran, Sheng Bi, Aron Weller*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

43 Scopus citations


Understanding the early factors affecting obesity development in males and females may help to prevent obesity and may lead to the discovery of more effective treatments for those already obese. The Otsuka Long-Evans Tokushima Fatty (OLETF) rat model of obesity is characterized by hyperphagia-induced obesity, due to a spontaneous lack of CCK1 receptors. In the present study, we focused on the behavioral and physiological aspects of obesity development from weaning to adulthood. We examined body weight, feeding efficiency, fat pad [brown, retroperitoneal, inguinal and epydidimal (in males)] weight, inguinal adipocyte size and number, leptin and oxytocin levels, body mass index, waist circumference, and females' estrous cycle structure. In the males, central hypothalamic gene expression was also examined. OLETF rats presented overall higher fat and leptin levels, larger adipocytes, and increased waist circumference and BMI from weaning until adulthood, compared with controls. Analysis of developmental patterns of gene expression for hypothalamic neuropeptides revealed peptide-specific patterns that may underlie or be a consequence of the obesity development. Analysis of the developmental trajectories toward obesity within the OLETF strain revealed that OLETF females developed obesity in a more gradual manner than the males, presenting delayed obesity-related "turning points," with reduced adipocyte size but larger postweaning fat pads and increased adipocyte hyperplasia compared with the males. Intake decrease in estrus vs. proestrus was significantly less in OLETF vs. Long-Evans Tokushima Otsuka females. The findings highlight the importance of using different sex-appropriate approaches to increase the efficacy of therapeutic interventions in the treatment and prevention of chronic early-onset obesity.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)R1749-R1760
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Regulatory Integrative and Comparative Physiology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 2009
Externally publishedYes


  • Adipocyte hypertrophy
  • Adipose tissues
  • Hyperphagia
  • Hyperplasia


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