Fat pad-specific effects of lipectomy on foraging, food hoarding, and food intake

Megan E. Dailey, Timothy J. Bartness

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Unlike most species, after food deprivation, Siberian hamsters increase foraging and food hoarding, two appetitive ingestive behaviors, but not food intake, a consummatory ingestive behavior. We previously demonstrated (Wood AD, Bartness TJ, Am J Physiol Regul Integr Comp Physiol 272: R783-R792, 1997) that increases in food hoarding are triggered by directly decreasing body fat levels through partial surgical lipectomy; however, we did not test if lipectomy affected foraging, nor if the magnitude of the lipid deficit affected food hoard size. Therefore, we tested whether varying the size of the lipectomy-induced lipid deficit and/or foraging effort affected foraging, food hoarding, or food intake. This was accomplished by housing adult male Siberian hamsters in a foraging/hoarding system and removing (x) both epididymal white adipose tissue (EWATx) pads, both inguinal white adipose tissue (IWATx) pads, or both EWAT and IWAT pads (EWATx + IWATx) and measuring foraging, food hoarding, and food intake for 12 wk. The lipectomy-induced lipid deficit triggered different patterns of white adipose tissue mass compensation that varied with foraging effort. Foraging for food (10 wheel revolutions to earn a food pellet) abolished the EWATx-induced compensation in IWAT pad mass. The magnitude of the lipid deficit did not engender a proportional change in any of the appetitive or consummatory ingestive behaviors. EWATx caused the greatest increase in food hoarding compared with IWATx or EWATx + IWATx, when animals were required to forage for their food. Collectively, it appears that the magnitude of a lipid deficit does not affect appetitive or consummatory behaviors; rather, when energy (foraging) demands are increased, loss of specific (gonadal) fat pads can preferentially stimulate increases in food hoarding.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)R321-R328
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Regulatory Integrative and Comparative Physiology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2008
Externally publishedYes


  • Appetitive behavior
  • Carcass composition
  • Siberian hamster
  • White adipose tissue

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Physiology (medical)


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