Activity-Based Anorexia and Ethanol Intake Among LoS and HiS Rats


Laura Cousins

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?Drunkorexia? links eating disorders with alcohol abuse (Kershaw, 2008). Alcohol intake alleviates stress produced by diet restriction, and these disorders often occur among individuals with anxiety and high emotionality (Grilo et al., 2002). A rodent model involving restricted feeding, excess activity, and alcohol exposure enables examination of this comorbidity. In the activity-based anorexia paradigm, rats in running wheels with limited food run excessively. Occidental?s High-Saccharin (HiS) and Low-Saccharin (LoS) rats provide a means of examining the relationship between taste and emotionality. LoS rats are more vulnerable to food deprivation as a stressor, exhibiting greater activity in running wheels when given limited food (Dess et al., 2000). LoS rats drink less ethanol voluntarily, but experience stronger withdrawal. The present study examined whether activity-based anorexia increases ethanol intake in LoS and HiS rats. This study used 15 LoS and 15 HiS adult female rats, placed into running or sedentary groups. Each rat lived in a running wheel for six days, with the final two days involving food deprivation for the running group. Rats then were moved to home cages and given two two-bottle preference tests including 4% ethanol and water. Greater deprivation-induced hyperactivity and lower ethanol intake among LoS rats replicates previous findings. Contrary to expectations, running reduced the amount of ethanol consumed equally among LoS and HiS rats. Future research could examine mechanisms through which running and food deprivation suppress ethanol intake.


Clinton Chapman




Howard Hughes Medical Institute Undergraduate Science Education Grant

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