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Diet-induced obesity alters behavior as well as serum levels of corticosterone in F344 rats.Buchenauer, T; Behrendt, P; Bode, F J; Horn, R; Brabant, Georg E; Stephan, M; Nave, H; Institute for Functional and Applied Anatomy, Hannover Medical School, 30625 Hannover, Germany. (2009-12-07)Obesity is an increasing socio-economic health problem. Diet-induced obese (DIO) rodents are widely used as a model of obesity in humans. However, there is no comprehensive data about the behavioral phenotype of DIO rodents. Therefore, the aim of the present study was to determine whether a high-fat-diet changes behavioral patterns of DIO Fischer 344 (F344) rats in comparison with lean littermates. The behavioral tests (homecage, holeboard, social interaction, and hotplate) were performed in 28 normal-weight and 28 male DIO F344 rats (mean age: 16 weeks) and revealed a significantly higher level of anxiety- and aggression-related parameters in obese rats, whereas their pain threshold was significantly lower. Fitting to a different behavioral response, basal corticosterone levels (measured by RIA) of obese animals were significantly elevated (16.0ng/ml vs. 12.5ng/ml; p<0.01). We conclude that obese rats differ in various aspects from their lean littermates. The altered behavioral characteristics displayed by DIO F344 rats have to be considered in further experiments involving DIO rodents.