Exposure to activity-based anorexia impairs contextual learning in weight-restored rats without affecting spatial learning, taste, anxiety, or dietary-fat preference

Gretha J. Boersma, Yada Treesukosol, Zachary A. Cordner, Anneke Kastelein, Pique Choi, Timothy H. Moran, Kellie L. Tamashiro

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Relapse rates are high amongst cases of anorexia nervosa (AN) suggesting that some alterations induced by AN may remain after weight restoration. Objective To study the consequences of AN without confounds of environmental variability, a rodent model of activity-based anorexia (ABA) can be employed. We hypothesized that exposure to ABA during adolescence may have long-term consequences in taste function, cognition, and anxiety-like behavior after weight restoration. Methods To test this hypothesis, we exposed adolescent female rats to ABA (1.5 h food access, combined with voluntary running wheel access) and compared their behavior to that of control rats after weight restoration was achieved. The rats were tested for learning/memory, anxiety, food preference, and taste in a set of behavioral tests performed during the light period. Results Our data show that ABA exposure leads to reduced performance during the novel object recognition task, a test for contextual learning, without altering performance in the novel place recognition task or the Barnes maze, both tasks that test spatial learning. Furthermore, we do not observe alterations in unconditioned lick responses to sucrose nor quinine (described by humans as "sweet" and "bitter," respectively). Nor Do we find alterations in anxiety-like behavior during an elevated plus maze or an open field test. Finally, preference for a diet high in fat is not altered. Discussion Overall, our data suggest that ABA exposure during adolescence impairs contextual learning in adulthood without altering spatial leaning, taste, anxiety, or fat preference.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)169-181
Number of pages13
JournalInternational Journal of Eating Disorders
Volume49
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 1 2016

Keywords

  • activity-based anorexia
  • animal model
  • anorexia nervosa
  • brief access taste test
  • novel object recognition

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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