Integrated circuits and molecular components for stress and feeding: implications for eating disorders

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Abstract

Eating disorders are complex brain disorders that afflict millions of individuals worldwide. The etiology of these diseases is not fully understood, but a growing body of literature suggests that stress and anxiety may play a critical role in their development. As our understanding of the genetic and environmental factors that contribute to disease in clinical populations like anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa and binge eating disorder continue to grow, neuroscientists are using animal models to understand the neurobiology of stress and feeding. We hypothesize that eating disorder clinical phenotypes may result from stress-induced maladaptive alterations in neural circuits that regulate feeding, and that these circuits can be neurochemically isolated using animal model of eating disorders.

Eating disorders are complex brain disorders that afflict millions of individuals worldwide. The etiology of these diseases is not fully understood, but a growing body of literature suggests that stress and anxiety may play a critical role in their development. Though a considerable body of research and societal emphasis has been placed on prevention and intervention of both stress-related behaviors and eating disorders (EDs), the combination of the two has only recently come to the forefront of scientific and clinical aims. This review will briefly highlight major EDs and relevant background, discuss rodent models of feeding and EDs and global behavioral work, explore the circuitry of feeding behaviors and how stress manipulations may shift specific aspects of this circuit, and identify some overlapping stress and feeding-related molecular systems.

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