VMN hypothalamic dopamine and serotonin in anorectic septic rats

Giovanni F. Torelli, Michael M. Meguid, Go Miyata, Serguei O. Fetissov, Janna L. Carter, Hyune Ju Kim, Maurizio Muscaritoli, Filippo Rossi Fanelli

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


During sepsis, catabolism of proteins and associated changes in plasma amino acids occur. Tryptophan and tyrosine, and their derivatives serotonin (5-HT) and dopamine (DA), influence hypothalamic feeding-related areas and are associated with the onset of anorexia. We hypothesized that anorexia of sepsis is associated with changes in serotonin and dopamine in the ventromedial nucleus (VMN) of the hypothalamus. The aim of this study was to test our hypothesis by measuring intra-VMN changes of these two neurotransmitters at the onset of anorexia during sepsis. Fischer 344 male rats had an intracerebral guide cannula stereotaxically implanted into the VMN. Ten days later, in awake, overnight-food-deprived rats, a microdialysis probe was inserted through the in situ VMN cannula. Two hours thereafter, serial baseline serotonin and dopamine concentrations were measured. Then cecal ligation and puncture to induce sepsis or a control laparotomy was performed under isoflurane anesthesia. VMN microdialysis samples were serially collected every 30 min for 8 h after the surgical procedure to determine 5-HT and DA changes in response to sepsis. During the hypermetabolic response to sepsis, a strong association occurred between anorexia and a significant reduction of VMN dopamine concentration (P<0.05; constant rate of dopamine decrease in the Study group of 0.99 pg per 2 h); no changes occurred in 5-HT in association with anorexia of sepsis. Six hours after operation, a single meal was offered for 20 min to assess the response of neurotransmitters to food ingestion. Food intake was minimal in anorectic septic rats (mean size of the after food-deprived meal in the Septic group was 0.03±0.01 g, that of the Control group was 1.27±0.14 g; P= 0.0001), while Control rats demonstrated anticipated changes in neurotransmitters in response to eating. We conclude that the onset of anorexia in septic rats is associated with a reduction in VMN dopamine.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)204-208
Number of pages5
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2000


  • Cecal ligation and puncture
  • Food intake
  • Microdialysis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Emergency Medicine
  • Critical Care and Intensive Care Medicine


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