Roux-en-Y gastric bypass (RYGB) is one of the most successful treatments for severe obesity and associated comorbidities. One potential adverse outcome, however, is increased risk for alcohol use. As such, we tested whether RYGB alters motivation to self-administer alcohol in outbred dietary obese rats, and investigated the involvement of the ghrelin system as a potential underlying mechanism. High fat (60%kcal from fat) diet-induced obese, non-diabetic male Sprague Dawley rats underwent RYGB (n = 9) or sham operation (Sham, n = 9) and were tested 4 months after surgery on a progressive ratio-10 (PR10) schedule of reinforcement operant task for 2, 4, and 8% ethanol. In addition, the effects of the ghrelin-1a-receptor antagonist D-[Lys3]-GHRP-6 (50, 100 nmol/kg, IP) were tested on PR10 responding for 4% ethanol. Compared to Sham, RYGB rats made significantly more active spout responses to earn reward, more consummatory licks on the ethanol spout, and achieved higher breakpoints. Pretreatment with a single peripheral injection of D-[Lys3]-GHRP-6 at either dose was ineffective in altering appetitive or consummatory responses to 4% ethanol in the Sham group. In contrast, RYGB rats demonstrated reduced operant performance to earn alcohol reward on the test day and reduced consummatory responses for two subsequent days following the drug. Sensitivity to threshold doses of D-[LYS3]-GHRP-6 suggests that an augmented ghrelin system may contribute to increased alcohol reward in RYGB. Further research is warranted to confirm applicability of these findings to humans and to explore ghrelin-receptor targets for treatment of alcohol-related disorders in RYGB patients.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
- Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)