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Eur Neuropsychopharmacol. 2009 Mar;19(3):153-60. doi: 10.1016/j.euroneuro.2008.09.005. Epub 2008 Nov 1.

Dopamine antagonism inhibits anorectic behavior in an animal model for anorexia nervosa.

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Rudolf Magnus Institute of Neuroscience, Department of Neuroscience & Pharmacology, University Medical Center Utrecht, Utrecht, The Netherlands.


Excessive physical activity is commonly described as symptom of Anorexia Nervosa (AN). Activity-based anorexia (ABA) is considered an animal model for AN. The ABA model mimics severe body weight loss and increased physical activity. Suppression of hyperactivity by olanzapine in anorectic patients as well as in ABA rats suggested a role of dopamine and/or serotonin in this trait. Here, we investigated the effect of a non-selective dopamine antagonist in the ABA model. A dose-response curve of chronic treatment with the non-selective dopaminergic antagonist cis-flupenthixol was determined in the ABA model. Treatment reduced activity levels in both ad libitum fed and food-restricted rats. Treated ABA rats reduced body weight loss and increased food intake. These data support a role for dopamine in anorexia associated hyperactivity. Interestingly, in contrast to leptin treatment, food-anticipatory activity still persists in treated ABA rats.

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