Cafeteria diet-induced sleep is blocked by subdiaphragmatic vagotomy in rats

Michael K. Hansen, Levente Kapas, Jidong Fang, James M. Krueger

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Feeding rats a cafeteria diet results in increased food intake and excess sleep. Furthermore, regal afferent activity is altered by a variety of gastrointestinal factors, and vagal stimulation can induce sleep. We investigated, therefore, the hypothesis that the vagal nerve plays a critical role in mediating the sleep-inducing effects of cafeteria feeding. We examined the effects of a cafeteria diet on sleep, electroencephalographic (EEG) slow-wave activity (SWA), and brain temperature (T(br)) in control and vagotomized rats. EEG, electromyogram, and T(br) were recorded for 7 consecutive days. Day 1 was considered a baseline day; normal rat chow was available ad libitum. On days 2-4, the animals were fed, in addition to normal chow, a mixed, energy-rich diet (cafeteria diet). On days 5-7, the rats were again fed only normal rat chow. In control rats, the cafeteria diet resulted in an increase in non-rapid eye movement sleep (NREMS), which was the result of a significant lengthening of the NREMS episodes. In contrast, feeding vagotomized rats the cafeteria diet resulted in a decrease in NREMS. Cafeteria feeding decreased REMS and EEG SWA and increased T(br) in both control and vagotomized rats. These results suggest that an intact vagus plays a key role in the NREMS-inducing effects of the cafeteria diet.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)R168-R174
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Regulatory Integrative and Comparative Physiology
Issue number1 43-1
StatePublished - Jan 1998

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Physiology
  • Physiology (medical)


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