Author(s): Barson JR, Karatayev O, Chang GQ, Johnson DF, Bocarsly ME,
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Abstract Studies in both humans and animals suggest a positive relationship between the intake of ethanol and intake of fat, which may contribute to alcohol abuse. This relationship may be mediated, in part, by hypothalamic orexigenic peptides such as orexin (OX), which stimulate both consumption of ethanol and fat, and circulating triglycerides (TGs), which stimulate these peptides and promote consummatory behavior. The present study investigated this vicious cycle between ethanol and fat, to further characterize its relation to TGs and to test the effects of lowering TG levels. In Experiment 1, the behavioral relationship between fat intake and ethanol was confirmed. Adult male Sprague-Dawley rats, chronically injected intraperitoneally with ethanol (1g/kg) and tested in terms of their preference for a high-fat diet (HFD) compared with low-fat diet (LFD), showed a significant increase in their fat preference, compared with rats injected with saline, in measures of 2h and 24h intake. Experiment 2 tested the relationship of circulating TGs in this positive association between ethanol and fat, in rats chronically consuming 9\% ethanol versus water and given acute meal tests (25kcal) of a HFD versus LFD. Levels of TGs were elevated in response to both chronic drinking of ethanol versus water and acute eating of a high-fat versus low-fat meal. Most importantly, ethanol and a HFD showed an interaction effect, whereby their combination produced a considerably larger increase in TG levels (+172\%) compared to ethanol with a LFD (+111\%). In Experiment 3, a direct manipulation of TG levels was found to affect ethanol intake. After intragastric administration of gemfibrozil (50mg/kg) compared with vehicle, TG levels were lowered by 37\%, and ethanol intake was significantly reduced. In Experiment 4, the TG-lowering drug gemfibrozil also caused a significant reduction in the expression of the orexigenic peptide, OX, in the perifornical lateral hypothalamus. These results support the existence of a vicious cycle between ethanol and fat, whereby each nutrient stimulates intake of the other. Within this vicious cycle, ethanol and fat act synergistically to increase TG levels, which in turn stimulate peptides that promote further consumption, and these phenomena are reversed by gemfibrozil, which lowers TG levels.
This article was published in Alcohol
and referenced in Journal of Biomolecular Research & Therapeutics