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Authors de Meijer VE, Le HD, Meisel JA, Puder M
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Journal Physiol. Behav. Volume: 100 Issue: 4 Pages: 387-93
Publish Date 2010 Jun 16
PubMed ID 20385157
PMC ID 3377975

Interest in pharmacological intervention to combat metabolic syndrome and its complications is increasing as the prevalence of obesity is reaching epidemic proportions. The potential efficacy of drugs is often tested in animal models; however, the method of drug delivery is frequently overlooked and may act as a confounder due to stress. We hypothesized that long-term orogastric gavage would negatively influence the development of hepatic steatosis and the metabolic syndrome in a murine model of diet-induced obesity. C57BL/6J male mice were fed a high fat diet and were gavaged with a vehicle once or twice daily for 9 weeks. A group without orogastric gavaging served as control. A similar experiment was performed using leptin deficient ob/ob mice that were fed a standard diet for 4 weeks. Food intake was monitored, insulin resistance determined, and steatosis was assessed by histology and quantified via magnetic resonance spectroscopy. After 9 weeks, control C57BL/6J mice exhibited significantly more weight gain, insulin resistance and hepatic steatosis, compared to mice that were gavaged daily, or twice daily. This effect was likely due to decreased food consumption associated with gavage-induced stress. In contrast, the phenotype of leptin deficient ob/ob mice was not affected by orogastric gavage. Therefore, we concluded that orogastric gavage may lead to increased stress, thereby affecting food intake and the development of diet-induced obesity in a murine model. The effects of what may seem to be trivial laboratory routines, such as orogastric gavage, should be taken into account when designing animal studies for drug development.

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