Macronutrient Selection in Experimental Animals

Robin B. Kanarek1

1 Tufts University, Medford, Massachusetts
Publication Name:  Current Protocols in Neuroscience
Unit Number:  Unit 8.6G
DOI:  10.1002/0471142301.ns0806gs27
Online Posting Date:  September, 2004
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To address the question of how animals choose diets from an array of nutritionally different foods, researchers have designed experiments in which animals are provided with separate sources of the three macronutrients, protein, fat and carbohydrate. These experiments are useful for investigating the neuroanatomical and neurochemical mechanisms involved in food choice, as well as for assessing the effects of changes in physiological status (e.g., pregnancy; lactation and increased energy expenditure) or disease states (e.g., diabetes; and obesity) on nutrient intakes.

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Table of Contents

  • Reagents and Solutions
  • Commentary
  • Literature Cited
  • Figures
  • Tables
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Basic Protocol 1:

  • Test compound or equipment for condition modification
  • Rats
  • Carbohydrate component (3.72 kcal/g; see recipe)
  • Fat component (7.86 kcal/g; see recipe)
  • Protein component (3.72 kcal/g; see recipe)
  • Stainless steel food cups with lids (e.g., Wahmann LC‐306)
  • 50–ml glass jar (Fisher)
  • Colored adhesive tape, 3 colors
  • Drill and appropriate bits
  • 0.5‐ to 1‐in screws with nuts
  • Individual stainless steel hanging rat cages: width: 18‐cm; length: 25.5‐cm; height: 18‐cm (Lab Products)
  • Alligator clips
  • Wire springs
  • Water bottles
  • Single‐hole stoppers with curved stainless steel spouts to fit water bottles
  • Data sheets (see Figure )
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Literature Cited

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Key References
   Berthoud, H.‐R. and Seeley, R.J. (eds.) 2000. Neural and Metabolic Control of Macronutrient Selection. CRC Press, Boca Raton, Fla.
  This book contains 32 chapters describing recent research examining the effects of a variety of variables on macronutrient selection in experimental animals and human subjects.
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