How predictive is body weight on fluid intake in rats? It depends on sex.

Jessica Santollo, Andrea A. Edwards

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


The assumption that body weight is a predictor of fluid intake is often used as rationale for normalizing intake to body weight when examining sex differences in drinking behavior. Nonuniform application of this body weight correction likely contributes to discrepancies in the literature. We, however, previously demonstrated sex differences in the relationship between body weight and angiotensin II (AngII)-stimulated water intake. Only after a pharmacological dose of AngII did water intake correlate with body weight, and only in males. Here we investigated whether body weight correlated with fluid intake stimulated by additional dipsogenic agents in male and female rats. We found that intake stimulated by either water deprivation or furosemide correlated with body weight in male rats. We found no relationship between intake and body weight after water deprivation, furosemide treatment, or isoproterenol treatment in females, nor did we find a relationship between intake and body weight after hypertonic saline treatment in either males or females. Finally, we report that daily water intake correlated with body weight in females. This effect, however, is likely the result of a relationship between body weight and food intake because when food was absent or reduced, the correlation between body weight and intake disappeared. These results demonstrate that multiple factors need to be considered when determining the best way to compare fluid intake between males and females and provides insight to help explain the discrepancies in the literature regarding sex differences in fluid intake.

Original languageEnglish
Article number113262
JournalPhysiology and Behavior
StatePublished - Feb 1 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We thank Katherine Myers and Ivanka Rainer for assistance with data collection. This work was supported by NIH grant DA035150 and University of Kentucky, College of Arts and Sciences Start-Up Funds.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 Elsevier Inc.


  • dehydration
  • sex differences
  • water intake

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Behavioral Neuroscience


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