Sodium depletion and maternal separation in the suckling rat increase its salt intake when adult

Micah Leshem, Mouna Maroun, Sonia Del Canho

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


To establish whether neonatal sodium depletion increases the adult's avidity for NaCl, 12-day-old suckling pups were infected with the natriuretic-diuretic furosemide (1 mg) while with their dams. The infections surged plasma aldosterone, and when the rats were adult (70 days), their spontaneous intake of 3% NaCl was increased. Additional experiments investigated whether maternal separation has a similar effect and could thus be a source of individual variation in salt intake of the adult. Fifteen-day-old pups were separated from their dams for 24 h in an incubator. When adult, their intake of 3% NaCl was increased. Availability of saline during maternal separation obviated the effect. The increase in adult intake of 3% NaCl was specific insofar as drinking of water was not increased similarly. The results show that the adult rat's avidity for sodium can be increased by postnatal natriuresis and possibly stress. The implications of the findings are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)199-204
Number of pages6
JournalPhysiology and Behavior
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1996


  • Aldosterone
  • Development
  • Maternal separation
  • Rats
  • Salt appetite
  • Sodium intake

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Behavioral Neuroscience


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