Effects of saccharin supplementation on body weight, sweet receptor mRNA expression and appetite signals regulation in post-weanling rats

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Non-nutritive sweeteners have been considered to promote diet healthfulness by delivering a pleasant sweet taste without calories. We investigated the effects of long term supplementation with drinks containing saccharin on body weight and possible mechanisms of the effects in post-weanling rats. Our results showed that saccharin solution intake increased food intake and energy intake in male rats. In males, saccharin solution intake increased TIR3 mRNA expression in the taste buds and ghrelin receptor mRNA expression both in the taste buds and hypothalamus, whereas no effects were observed in females. These results suggest the effects of saccharin solution exposure on food intake and body weight gain may be different in developmental males and females. In males, peripheral sweet taste receptors and both peripheral and central ghrelin receptors may be involved in the effect of saccharin solution intake to promote food intake and weight gain.

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