Journal Article
. 2008 Jan; 213(1):1-12.
doi: 10.1016/j.imbio.2007.08.001.

Diet selection in immunologically manipulated mice

Gerlinde Teixeira 1 Patrícia Olaya Paschoal  Vivian Leite de Oliveira  Monique M B Pedruzzi  Sylvia M N Campos  Luiz Andrade  Alberto Nóbrega  
  • PMID: 18207023
  •     4 citations


Diet selection is a complex problem that animals in wildlife have to deal with daily. In their natural environment, these animals meet a great variety of foods some of which they are able and prepared to eat, yet, not all of it is eaten. In addition to the biological factors, some of which we shall discuss deeper in this paper, an important factor in food preference is social contact. Alterations in the physiology of mammals can have profound effects on the choice or preference for certain foods. On the other hand the decline of taste and smell perception in the elderly, the degree of food restriction, the sensorial properties of foods (such as presentation, taste, and smell) can be considered factors that influence feeding behavior leading to aversion. Many species, including man, learn to associate nausea with taste, and as a consequence avoid its specific intake, which has been shown to be persistent. Conditioned taste aversion is a form of associative learning in which animals display an aversion to the taste of a food that has previously been paired with illness. Our group has investigated the pattern of ingestion of foods that are frequently eaten by mice in wildlife and are potentially allergenic to humans in order to study the immunological consequences to these foods such as oral tolerance and inflammatory processes of the gut. We have chosen two seeds, peanuts (Arachis hypogea) and cashew nuts (Anacardium occidentale), as our source of antigens as the first is considered to be one of the most potent food allergens and for the second there seems to be very little allergy in the human setting. We used male and female, normal, adult CBA/J, A/J, C57BL/6 and Balb/c mice 2-3 months old and hybrid (C57Bl/6xBalb/c) F1, (Balb/cxC57Bl/6) F1), (C57Bl/6xDBA2) F1 mice. Food preference appeared to be strain-specific. Animals tolerized to a determined seed, then immunized with its protein extract and re-exposed to the seed in natura alter their feeding pattern. We suggest that diet selection, a multi-factorial event, is influenced by genetic factors such as the MHC and the immunological status of the animal.

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