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Eating disorder animal model

Treasure, Janet; Eid, Laura

doi: 10.1097/YCO.0000000000000550
EATING DISORDERS: Edited by Hans W. Hoek and Anna Keski-Rahkonen

Purpose of review The aim of this review is to describe animal models that simulate the features of eating disorders. The literature pertaining to animal models that are of relevance for clinical eating disorders and the possible underpinning mechanisms was reviewed using PubMed, Ovid database and Google Scholar.

Recent findings New refinements of the circuits regulated by neurotransmitters and neuropeptides which instigate eating behaviours and the various feedback pathways which monitor acute and chronic nutrient status continue to be discovered. Moreover, work with the animal models that simulate the behavioural features and risk factors related to eating disorders is flourishing and providing new insights into possible causal mechanisms. For example, rodents develop binge-eating behaviours if they are intermittently exposed to processed, palatable foods and/or sugar adulterated drinks. This led to the controversial conceptualization of binge eating as a form of food addiction. Self-starvation taken to a fatal consequence such as occurs in anorexia nervosa can emerge in rodents exposed to triggers like social exclusion and/or the opportunity to exercise.

Summary There are plausible animal models for both anorexia nervosa and binge-eating disorders. These can be used to elaborate the theoretical models to explain the mechanisms underpinning eating disorders.

Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience (IoPPN), King's College London (KCL), London, United Kingdom

Correspondence to Laura Eid, 103 Denmark Hill, Section of Eating Disorders, London SE5 8AF, United Kingdom. E-mail:

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