Agout-related protein increases food hoarding more than food intake in Siberian hamsters

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Diane Day
Timothy J Bartness
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Agouti-related protein increases food hoarding more than food intake in Siberian hamsters. Am J Physiol Regul Integr Comp Physiol 286: R38–R45, 2004. First published September 18, 2003; 10.1152/ajpregu.00284.2003.—Ag¬outi-related protein (AgRP), an endogenous melanocortin 3/4 receptor antagonist, appears to play an important role in the control of food intake and energy balance because exogenous administration in rats and overexpression in mice result in hyperphagia and body mass gain. Furthermore, arcuate nucleus AgRP mRNA is increased with fasting in laboratory rats and mice and is decreased with refeeding. In Siberian hamsters, fasting also increases arcuate nucleus AgRP mRNA, but these animals increase food hoarding, rather than food intake with refeeding. Therefore, we tested whether exogenous AgRP increased food hoarding in this species. Hamsters were trained in a hoarding/foraging apparatus to run a programmed number of wheel revolutions to earn food pellets. Four doses of AgRP-(83–132) or vehicle were injected into the third ventricle at the beginning of the dark phase, and food hoarding, food intake, and foraging were measured at various time points subsequently. Overall, food hoarding was stimulated as much as 10 times more than food intake, and both responses occurred as early as 1 h after injection. Food hoarding was increased the greatest at the lowest dose (0.1 nmol), whereas food intake was increased the greatest at the second lowest dose (1 nmol). Food intake and especially food hoarding were increased up to seven days after the AgRP injections. Foraging was increased at all AgRP doses except the highest dose (100 nmol). These results suggest that AgRP triggers the search for food in this species, and once they find it, hoarding predominates over eating.
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