Nicotine alters the usual reciprocity between meal size and meal number in female rat

Go Miyata, Michael M. Meguid, Madhu Varma, Serguei O. Fetissov, Hyune Ju Kim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

61 Scopus citations


Tobacco smoking reduces appetite and body weight (BW). Cessation of smoking leads to hyperphagia and weight gain. Daily food intake (FI) is a function of meal number (MN) and meal size (MZ), i.e., FI = MN × MZ. Under normal conditions, the female Fischer rat has a periodic reciprocal fluctuation between MZ and MN corresponding to phase of estrous cycle. Wide fluctuations between MZ and MN compensate each other to keep FI constant. Nicotine (5 mg/kg BW/day) was infused via osmotic minipump for 7 days. Controls received saline. FI, MZ, and MN were measured by an Automated Computerized Rat Eater Meter. Nicotine significantly decreased BW and FI via a decrease in MZ without compensatory increase of MN. Nicotine cessation led to hyperphagia, normalizing BW loss via an increase in MZ, which exceeded a compensatory decrease in MN. Nicotine significantly prolonged the estrous cycle by an extension of proestrous phase. Nicotine significantly lengthened the intermeal interval (IMI), delaying the start of the next meal and simultaneously decreasing subsequent MZ. Stopping nicotine led to normalization of IMI and MZ. Data show that nicotine alters the usual reciprocal regulation between MZ and MN and leads to a prolongation of the estrous cycle.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)169-176
Number of pages8
JournalPhysiology and Behavior
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - 2001


  • Body weight
  • Estrous cycle
  • Food intake
  • Meal number
  • Meal size

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Behavioral Neuroscience


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