J Korean Biol Nurs Sci.  2020 Nov;22(4):279-287. 10.7586/jkbns.2020.22.4.279.

The Alleviating Effects of Sweet Drinks on Restraint Stress-Induced Anxiety and Depressive Behavior in Adolescent Rats

  • 1College of Nursing Science, Kyung Hee University, Seoul, Korea
  • 2College of Medicine, Rutgers University, New Brunswick, NJ, USA
  • 3College of Nursing, Pusan National University, Korea


Some of the adolescent drinks more sugar-sweetened beverages. However, there is little evidence on the effect of eating behavior on emotional state and neurochemical changes under stress, especially on the levels of typical inhibitory neurotransmitters and gamma-aminobutyric acid. This article demonstrates that sucrose or saccharin drink reduces stress-related behavior responses and GABAergic deficits in adolescent rats.
We randomly assigned 7-weeks-old Sprague-Dawley male rats to three groups: control group (Control), restraint stress only group (Stress), and restraint stress with unrestricted access to saccharin solution (Saccharin) and sucrose solution (Sucrose) as a positive control. We evaluated both anxious and depressive moods using an open field test and forced swim test, respectively. Using western blot analyses, the expression of a GABA-synthesizing enzyme, glutamate decarboxylase-67 (GAD67) and GABAergic markers, including calbindin and parvalbumin was assessed in the prefrontal cortex and the amygdala.
We found that both the drinks alleviated anxiety and depressive moods, induced significant attenuation in GAD67 level, and reduced calbindin level under stress in the prefrontal cortex and the amygdala.
The results provide an understanding of the effect of sucrose or saccharin drink on stress-related responses. We propose the consumption of sweet drinks as a plausible strategy to alleviate stress-related alterations in adolescents.


Sugar-sweetened beverages; Artificially sweetened beverage; Gamma-aminobutyric acid; Adolescent; Emotions
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