Cholecystokinin (CCK) acts acutely to inhibit food consumption in fasted rats1-4, mice5-7, sheep8, pigs9, monkeys10 and humans11-13. CCK has been proposed as a satiety signal, inducing the behavioural sequence of satiety2, or as an aversive internal stimulus, which inhibits food intake by inducing malaise4. Reductions in food intake and related exploratory behaviours are initiated by CCK at its peripheral receptor in the gut, which appears to transmit sensory feedback via the vagus nerve to brain regions mediating appetitive behaviours15-17. The therapeutic potential of CCK as an appetite suppressant in obesity syndromes rests on the demonstration of significant, long-lasting body weight reduction. Chronic CCK administration by repeated injections is problematic, since this peptide is rapidly degraded in vivo. We chose the Alzet constant infusion osmotic minipump to investigate possible alterations in body weight and food intake during continuous infusion of CCK. We now report that no change was detected in either body weight or total daily food consumption at any time point during 2 weeks of intraperitoneally (i.p.) infused CCK. The mechanism underlying the lack of chronic CCK effects appears to be a rapid development of behavioural tolerance. Acute challenge doses of CCK which induced satiety-related behaviours in saline-infused rats were ineffective in CCK-infused rats. The behavioural tolerance was apparent within a few hours of minipump implantation. These results provide the first evidence that rapid and reversible tolerance develops to the actions of a gut peptide.
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