Citation

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Construction of Activity-based Anorexia Mouse Models

Miletta, MC;Horvath, TL;

Anorexia nervosa (AN) is a psychiatric disorder mainly characterized by extreme hypophagia, severe body weight loss, hyperactivity, and hypothermia. Currently, AN has the highest mortality rate among psychiatric illnesses. Despite decades of research, there is no effective cure for AN nor is there a clear understanding of its etiology. Since a complex interaction between genetic, environmental, social, and cultural factors underlines this disorder, the development of a suitable animal model has been difficult so far. Here, we present our protocol that couples a loss-of-function mouse model to the activity-based anorexia model (ABA), which involves self-imposed starvation in response to exposure to food restriction and exercise. We provide insights into a neural circuit that drives survival in AN and, in contrast to previous protocols, propose a model that mimics the conditions that mainly promote AN in humans, such as increased incidence during adolescence, onset preceded by negative energy balance, and increased compulsive exercise. This protocol will be useful for future studies that aim to identify neuronal populations or brain circuits that promote the onset or long-term maintenance of this devastating eating disorder.