Senescent terminal weight loss in the male F344 rat

Bill J. Black, C. Alex McMahan, Edward J. Masoro, Yuji Ikeno, Michael S. Katz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


Loss of weight, often of unknown cause and culminating in death, commonly occurs in humans at advanced ages. Rats that live to old ages, such as the Fischer 344 (F344) strain, also exhibit a terminal loss in body weight. A presently held hypothesis is that the terminal weight loss in the F344 rat model is due to reduced food intake because of an alteration in hypothalamic function resulting in early satiation. We report findings on terminal weight loss and food intake in male F344 rats fed ad libitum (AL group) or a life-prolonging dietary regimen in which caloric intake was restricted (DR group). Rats in both dietary groups that did not exhibit a terminal weight loss died at younger ages than those exhibiting the loss. Terminal weight loss in the AL group was not associated with decreased food intake; indeed, half of the rats in this group had an increased food intake during the period of terminal weight loss. This finding is not in accord with the presently held hypothesis. In the DR group, terminal weight loss was associated with reduced food intake. Pathology (renal disease and neoplasms) did not explain the presence or absence of the association between reduced food intake and weight loss in either dietary group. The duration of the period of terminal weight loss was similar for the AL and DR groups. Apparently, restricting calories delays the occurrence but does not affect the duration of senescent terminal weight loss.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)R336-R342
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Regulatory Integrative and Comparative Physiology
Issue number2 53-2
StatePublished - Feb 1 2003


  • Caloric restriction
  • Food intake
  • Hypothalamic function

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology (medical)
  • Physiology


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