The effect of an ovine corticotropin-releasing factor (oCRF) bolus administered intravenously at the onset of glucose ingestion during oral glucose tolerance tests (OGTTs) was evaluated in conscious lean (FA/FA) and genetically obese (fa/fa) rats. When the amount of oCRF was purposely small to not stimulate the hypothalamo-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis, it normalized the glucose intolerance of genetically obese rats as tested during OGTTs and decreased their insulin output, whereas it had no effect in lean rats. In obese rats, plasma xylose levels measured after the ingestion of a xylose load were unaltered by the intravenous oCRF bolus, indicating that the beneficial effect of oCRF on glucose intolerance of fa/fa rats was unlikely to be dependent on glucose absorption. When the intravenous bolus of oCRF was doubled at the onset of OGTTs, it stimulated the HPA axis and produced a worsening of glucose intolerance in obese rats together with an increase in their insulin response. Again, it had no effect in lean rats. The abnormal intravenous glucose tolerance of obese rats was unaffected by the administration of an oCRF bolus: This is in keeping with previous data showing that bypassing the oral cavity fails to elicit several sensory reflexes that markedly influence subsequent glucose clearance. It has been suggested that obese rats may have deficient oropharyngeal reflexes that could be reactivated by the oCRF bolus, thereby being responsible for the normalization of their impaired OGTT, which lies in the hepatic glucose production process.

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