Binge Eating in Rats with Limited Access to Vegetable Shortening

Rebecca L. Corwin1, Francis H.E. Wojnicki1

1 The Pennsylvania State University, University Park, Pennsylvania
Publication Name:  Current Protocols in Neuroscience
Unit Number:  Unit 9.23B
DOI:  10.1002/0471142301.ns0923bs36
Online Posting Date:  August, 2006
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In this protocol, binge‐type eating is induced in non‐food‐deprived rats by providing limited access to an optional source of dietary fat: vegetable shortening. The protocol is simple and inexpensive, and the binge behavior is robust, reliable, and maintainable across extended periods of time. Two peptides that normally affect fat intake in rats have no effect on fat intake under limited‐access conditions. However, recent results with a GABAB receptor agonist and with progressive‐ratio responding suggest that the behavior induced by the limited‐access binge protocol may share similarities with substance abuse. This protocol is designed to model the kind of excessive behavior that characterizes bingeing‐related eating disorders and certain addictions.

Keywords: animal models; binge; bulimia; eating disorders; food intake; limited access; restriction

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Table of Contents

  • Commentary
  • Literature Cited
  • Figures
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Basic Protocol 1:

  • Male Sprague‐Dawley rats, 60 days old at start of study (Harlan)
  • Solid or powdered nutritionally complete grain‐based rodent diet (e.g., Lab Diet 5001 Rodent Diet; Purina Mills)
  • Vegetable shortening (e.g., Crisco all‐vegetable shortening)
  • Housing room, temperature controlled at 70° to 72°F (21° to 22°C), with light‐cycle timer, a red light (25‐W bulb or 100‐W spotlight), and cage racks
  • Rat cages (Allentown Caging Equipment): individual hanging wire type, including food hopper for pellets or glass container with a “donut” lid (Lab Products) and bowl clip for powdered chow
  • Water bottle: single‐holed stopper with curved stainless steel drinking spout and wire attachment spring (Fisher Scientific)
  • Cage card in metal hanger (Allentown Caging Equipment)
  • Top‐loading balance, 0 to 2000 ± 0.1 g, and weighing cage (e.g., Ohaus,
  • Spill papers (e.g., paper towels)
  • Small bowl (to hold at least 25 g of shortening) and attachment clip (Ancare)
  • Data recording tables (e.g., see Fig. )
  • Computer spreadsheet program (e.g., Microsoft Excel)
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Literature Cited

   American Psychiatric Association. 1994. Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 4th ed. American Psychiatric Association, Washington, D.C.
   Brebner, K., Childress, A.R., and Roberts, D.C.S. 2002. A potential role for GABAB agonists in the treatment of psychostimulant addiction. Alcohol 37:478‐484.
   Buda‐Levin, A., Wojnicki, F.H.E., and Corwin, R.L. 2005. Baclofen reduces fat intake under binge‐type conditions. Physiol. Behav. 86:176‐184.
   Corrigall, W.A. and Coen, K.M. 1989. Nicotine maintains robust self‐administration in rats on a limited access schedule. Psychopharmacology 99:473‐478.
   Corwin, R.L. 2004. Binge‐type eating induced by limited access in rats does not require energy restriction on the previous day. Appetite 42:139‐142.
   Corwin, R.L. and Buda‐Levin, A. 2004. Behavioral models of binge‐type eating Physiol. Behav. 82:123‐130.
   Corwin, R.L. and Rice, H.B. 1998. Effects of enterostatin on optional oil or sucrose consumption in non‐food deprived rats. Physiol. Behav. 65:1‐10.
   Corwin, R.L., Rowe, P.M., and Crawley, J.N. 1995. Galanin and the galanin antagonist M40 do not change fat intake in a fat‐chow choice paradigm in rats. Am. J. Physiol. 269:R511‐R518.
   Corwin, R.L, Wojnicki, F.H.E., Fisher, J.O., Dimitriou, S.G., Rice, H.B., and Young, M.A. 1998. Limited access to a dietary fat option affects ingestive behavior but not body composition in male rats. Physiol. Behav. 65:545‐553.
   Deroche‐Gamonet, V., Belin, D., and Piazza, V. 2004. Evidence for addiction‐like behavior in the rat. Science 305:1014‐1017.
   Dimitriou, S.G., Rice, H.B., and Corwin, R.L. 2000. Effects of limited access to a fat option on food intake and body composition in female rats. Int. J. Eat. Disord. 28:436‐445.
   Erlanson‐Albertsson, C. and York, D. 1997. Enterostatin‐a peptide regulating fat intake. Obes. Res. 5:360‐372.
   Fisher, J.O. and Birch, L.L. 1999. Restricting access to palatable foods affects children's behavioral response, food selection, and intake. Am. J. Clin. Nutr. 69:1264‐1272.
   Kales, E.F. 1990. Macronutrient analysis of binge eating in bulimia. Physiol. Behav. 48:837‐840.
   Leibowitz, S.F. and Kim, T. 1992. Impact of a galanin antagonist on exogenous galanin and natural patterns of fat ingestion. Brain Res. 599:148‐152.
   Lucas, F., Ackroff, K., and Sclafani, A. 1989. Dietary fat‐induced hyperphagia in rats as a function of fat type and physical form. Physiol. Behav. 45:937‐946.
   Marcus, M.D. and Kalarchian, M.A. 2003. Binge eating in children and adolescents. Int. J. Eat. Disord. 34:S47‐S57.
   Pinel, J.P.J. and Huang, E. 1976. Effects of periodic withdrawal on ethanol and saccharin selection in rats. Physiol. Behav. 16:693‐698.
   Siegel, P.S. 1961. Food intake in the rat in relation to the dark‐light cycle. J. Comp. Physiol. Psychol. 54:294‐301.
   Tempel, D.L., Shor‐Posner, G., Dwyer, D., and Leibowitz, S.F. 1989. Nocturnal patterns of macronutrient intake in freely feeding and food‐deprived rats. Am. J. Physiol. 256:R541‐R548.
   Thomas, M.A., Rice, H.B., Weinstock, D., and Corwin, R.L. 2002. Effects of aging on food intake and body composition in rats. Physiol. Behav. 76:487‐500.
   Wayner, M.J. and Fraley, S. 1972. Enhancement of the consumption of acclimated sapid solutions following periodic and prolonged withdrawal. Physiol. Behav. 9:463‐474.
   Wilson, G.T. 1993. Binge eating and addictive disorders. In Binge Eating: Nature, Assessment, and Treatment. (C.G. Fairburn and G.T. Wilson, eds.) pp. 97‐120. The Guilford Press, New York.
   Wojnicki, F.H.E., Roberts, D.C.S., and Corwin, R.L.W. 2006. Effects of baclofen on operant performance for food pellets and vegetable shortening after a history of binge‐type behavior in non‐food‐deprived rats. Pharmacol. Biochem. Behav. In press.
Key References
   American Psychiatric Association, 1994. See above.
  Describes human psychiatric disorders including eating and substance‐related disorders.
   Corwin and Buda‐Levin, 2004. See above.
  Describes behavioral models of binge‐type eating; assesses face and construct validity of the different models, as well as simplicity and cost of use.
   Lucas et al., 1989. See above.
  Assesses the influence of several fat‐related parameters on food intake in rats.
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