Effects of high-fat diet and gastric bypass on neurons in the caudal solitary nucleus

Type Article

Journal Article


A. J. Boxwell; Z. Chen; C. M. Mathes; A. C. Spector; C. W. Le Roux; S. P. Travers; J. B. Travers

Year of publication



Physiol Behav







Bariatric surgery is an effective treatment for obesity that involves both peripheral and central mechanisms. To elucidate central pathways by which oral and visceral signals are influenced by high-fat diet (HFD) and Roux-en-Y gastric bypass (RYGB) surgery, we recorded from neurons in the caudal visceral nucleus of the solitary tract (cNST, N=287) and rostral gustatory NST (rNST,N=106) in rats maintained on a HFD and lab chow (CHOW) or CHOW alone, and subjected to either RYGB or sham surgery. Animals on the HFD weighed significantly more than CHOW rats and RYGB reversed and then blunted weight gain regardless of diet. Using whole-cell patch clamp recording in a brainstem slice, we determined the membrane properties of cNST and rNST neurons associated with diet and surgery. We could not detect differences in rNST neurons associated with these manipulations. In cNST neurons, neither the threshold for solitary tract stimulation nor the amplitude of evoked EPSCs at threshold varied by condition; however suprathreshold EPSCs were larger in HFD compared to chow-fed animals. In addition, a transient outward current, most likely an IA current, was increased with HFD and RYGB reduced this current as well as a sustained outward current. Interestingly, hypothalamic projecting cNST neurons preferentially express IA and modulate transmission of afferent signals (Bailey, '07). Thus, diet and RYGB have multiple effects on the cellular properties of neurons in the visceral regions of NST, with potential to influence inputs to forebrain feeding circuits.