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Sucrose exposure in juvenile rats produces long-term changes in fear memory and anxiety-like behavior.

Psychoneuroendocrinology; 104: 300-307, 2019 Jun.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-30928734
Sugar consumption has increased dramatically in our society, a phenomenon that is primarily associated with obesity and diabetes appearance. However, whether this overconsumption of sugar has an impact on the developing CNS remains unknown. This study investigated the long-term effects of unlimited access to sucrose using the two-bottle choice paradigm and the juvenile and adult effects were compared. Male Sprague Dawley rats had free access to water containing 10% sucrose and water during youth (PD 25-50) or adulthood (PD 75-100). Rats in the sucrose group, privileged to take sugary solution over the water. No weight differences were observed between the sucrose groups and their age-matched water controls. After treatment all animals drank only water for another 25 days. Frustration, measured as the amount of water drank after the sucrose period, was higher in young-exposed animals compared to adults. In addition, rats that consumed sucrose during youth travelled less the central zones of an open field. Sucrose consumption during youth also affected fear behavior as animals exhibited impaired extinction of fear memory compared to control, indicating that prefrontal and hippocampal function is impaired. In contrast, rats exposed to sucrose during adulthood did not behave significantly different from control on either task. The calretinin and parvalbumin GABAergic interneurons go through extensive remodeling during youth in the medial prefrontal cortex and the ventral hippocampus. Here, we found that rats exposed to sucrose during youth presented an increased expression of calretinin-immunoreactivity in the medial prefrontal cortex, but not in the ventral hippocampus, indicating that early sucrose consumption produces enduring effects on the GABA system. Altogether these results indicate that sugar overconsumption at early stages of life induces long-term effects on behaviors related to fear and anxiety in adulthood.