Reduced Preference for Sucrose in Autoimmune Mice
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In a continuous one-bottle sucrose intake test, 4-month-old autoimmune MRL-Ipr mice show a shift to the right along the X-axis of the concentration-intake function, compared to congenic MRL +/+ controls. Using a brief (60-min) and a continuous (48-h) two-bottle test, the present report examines potential factors that could account for the reduced responsiveness to a palatable stimulus. Study 1 examines whether preference for sucrose is associated with age, changes in food/water intake, or impaired renal function. Reduced preference for sucrose was observed in 5-6-week-old MRL-Ipr males, although food/water intake or blood creatinine levels did not differ from control values. Immunosuppressive treatment abolished this deficit, suggesting a role of immune factor(s). Study 2 tests the hypothesis that chronic upregulation of the neuroactive cytokine interleukin-6 (IL-6), reported to occur from 3 weeks of age in young MRL-Ipr mice, reduces preference for sucrose. Sustained administration of IL-6 was produced by infecting healthy MRL +/+, C3H.SW and Balb/C mice with adenovirus vector carrying cDNA for murine IL-6. This resulted in high serum IL-6 levels over 5 days, a rapid decline in preference for sucrose and low blood glucose levels. The results from Study 1 indicate that impaired sensitivity to sucrose in MRL-Ipr mice can be detected before autoimmune disease is florid in MRL-Ipr mice. The results from Study 2 are consistent with altered motivation/emotional states after infection, and point to sustained IL-6 production as an early mechanism in behavioral alterations during chronic autoimmune/inflammatory conditions.
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