Table 1: Summary of the main protocols for studying the interactions between environment, leptin, and neural plasticity, with their main features and effects on the ARC. The effects of the various rearing protocols on leptin levels, STAT3 phosphorylation (pSTAT3) in the ARC, and neural plasticity are described as compared to the standard rearing condition (first row).

ProtocolAnimals per cageRunning wheelObjectsFoodLeptinpSTAT3 in the ARCNeural plasticity in the ARC

3 to 5NoNoStandard chow diet,
ad libitum
Control valueControl valueControl value
Physical exercise1 to 3YesNoStandard chow diet,
ad libitum
Not observed on synaptic puncta.
No data available for other markers
Diet-induced obesity
3 to 5NoNoHigh-fat, high-carbohydrate diet,
ad libitum
Extracellular Matrix Rearrangements
Caloric restriction3 to 5NoNoStandard chow diet, 70% to 90% of normal caloric intake, sometimes coupled to intermittent fasting No data availableNo data available
Environmental enrichment6 to 10YesYesStandard chow diet,
ad libitum
Modulation of excitation to inhibition ratio