Diet-induced weight loss varies considerably between individuals, but the mechanisms driving these individual differences remain largely unknown. Here we investigated whether key neuropeptides involved in the regulation of energy balance or reward systems were differentially expressed in mice that were prone or resistant to caloric restriction (CR) induced weight loss. Mice (n = 30 males and n = 34 females) were fed 70% of their own baseline ad libitum intake for 25 days, after which their brains were collected and expression of various neuropeptides were investigated and compared between the 10 male and 10 female mice that showed the greatest (high weight loss, HWL) or lowest weight loss (LWL) (n = 40 in total). HWL mice showed a differential neuropeptide profile to LWL in both sexes, characterised by increased expression of neuropeptide Y (NPY), agouti-related peptide (AgRP), leptin receptor (ObRb), and melanocortin 3 receptor (MC3R) in the arcuate nucleus. No changes in the expression of fat mass and obesity related gene (FTO) or suppressor of cytokine signalling 3 (Socs3) were observed. Levels of dopamine D2 receptor were decreased in the nucleus accumbens in HWL compared to LWL mice. HWL mice showed a stronger increase in food anticipatory activity (FAA) in response to CR than LWL mice. These results indicate that the mice prone to diet-induced weight loss experienced greater hunger, potentially driving their elevated FAA.
Bibliographical noteThanks to all members of the Energetics Group for their invaluable help at various stages throughout the project. This work was conducted under the Home Office Project License 60/3706 and L.M.V. was funded by a Rubicon grant from the Dutch Scientific Organisation (NWO) (Grant code, 825.08.014).
- individual variability
- caloric restriction
- energy balance