Perinatal high fat diet increases inhibition of dorsal motor nucleus of the vagus neurons regulating gastric functions

C. A. McMenamin, R. A. Travagli, K. N. Browning

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


Background: Previous studies suggest an increased inhibition of dorsal motor nucleus of the vagus (DMV) neurons following exposure to a perinatal high fat diet (PNHFD); the underlying neural mechanisms, however, remain unknown. This study assessed the effects of PNHFD on inhibitory synaptic inputs to DMV neurons and the vagally dependent control of gastric tone and motility. Methods: Whole-cell patch clamp recordings were made from DMV neurons in thin brainstem slices from Sprague-Dawley rats fed either a control diet or HFD (14 or 60% kcal from fat, respectively) from embryonic day 13 onwards; gastric tone and motility were recorded in in vivo anesthetized rats. Key Results: The non-selective GABAA antagonist, BIC (10 μmol L–1), induced comparable inward currents in PNHFD and control DMV neurons, but a larger current in PNHFD neurons at higher concentrations (50 μmol L–1). Differences were not apparent in neuronal responses to the phasic GABAA antagonist, gabazine (GBZ), the extrasynaptic GABAA agonist, THIP, the GABA transport blocker, nipecotic acid, or the gliotoxin, fluoroacetate, suggesting that PNHFD altered inhibitory transmission but not GABAA receptor density or function, GABA uptake or glial modulation of synaptic strength. Similarly, the increase in gastric motility and tone following brainstem microinjection of low doses of BIC (1-10 pmoles) and GBZ (0.01-0.1 pmoles) were unchanged in PNHFD rats while higher doses of BIC (25 pmoles) induced a significantly larger increase in gastric tone compared to control. Conclusions and Inferences: These studies suggest that exposure to PNHFD increases the tonic inhibition of DMV neurons, possibly contributing to dysregulated vagal control of gastric functions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere13150
JournalNeurogastroenterology and Motility
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2018

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Physiology
  • Endocrine and Autonomic Systems
  • Gastroenterology


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