Sugar Bingeing in Rats

Nicole M. Avena1, Pedro Rada1, Bartley G. Hoebel1

1 Princeton University, Princeton, New Jersey
Publication Name:  Current Protocols in Neuroscience
Unit Number:  Unit 9.23C
DOI:  10.1002/0471142301.ns0923cs36
Online Posting Date:  August, 2006
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Bingeing behavior is characteristic of many eating disorders. This unit describes an animal model of sugar bingeing. This model has been used successfully to elicit behavioral and neurochemical signs of sugar dependence in rats, e.g., indices of bingeing, withdrawal, increased intake after abstinence (deprivation effect), cross‐sensitization with amphetamine, and increases in dopamine release in the nucleus accumbens due to repeated bingeing.

Keywords: sucrose; eating disorder; dependence; food

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Table of Contents

  • Commentary
  • Literature Cited
  • Figures
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Basic Protocol 1:

  • Sucrose or glucose
  • Male or female rats (e.g., Sprague‐Dawley rats; Taconic Farms) weighing at least 250 g
  • Standard laboratory rodent chow
  • Scale accurate to 0.1 g
  • Hanging wire‐mesh cages (preferred) or plastic‐bottom cages with removable food hoppers (e.g., Allentown Caging Equipment)
  • Housing room with 12‐hr light/dark cycle, maintained at 21°C
  • 100‐ml graduated (in 1‐ml increments) drinking tubes: e.g., glass drinking tubes (Lab Products) or tubes made from 100‐ml polyethylene graduated cylinders (Fisher Scientific) by cutting off the flange and filing the top flat
  • Rubber stoppers with sipper tubes (steel‐ball tip valves preferred)
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Literature Cited

Literature Cited
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   Rada, P., Avena, N.M., and Hoebel, B.G. 2005. Daily bingeing on sugar repeatedly releases dopamine in the accumbens shell. Neuroscience 134:737‐744.
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