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Physiol Behav. 2011 Jul 6;103(5):508-12. doi: 10.1016/j.physbeh.2011.03.029. Epub 2011 Apr 9.

Effect of 2-hydroxyestradiol on binge intake in rats.

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Pennsylvania State University, IGDP Physiology, 110 Chandlee Laboratory, University Park, PA 16802, USA.


One conundrum of binge eating is that women are more likely to suffer from binge-related disorders, even though estradiol decreases food intake. 2-hydroxyestradiol (2OHE2), an estrogen metabolite, may account for the contradiction, due to possible interference with DA signaling. We hypothesized that 2OHE2 would enhance bingeing in a rodent model. Two cohorts (1 male, 1 female) of 34 non-food-deprived rats were separated into daily control (D) (received an optional source of dietary fat for 20 min every day) or bingeing (INT) groups (received fat intermittently, i.e. 20 min on Mon, Weds, Fri). During the 5-week binge induction period, shortening intakes escalated significantly faster in females than in males, such that males consumed significantly less fat/kg body mass than did females after 5 weeks. This result is consistent with the idea that biological differences contribute to sex differences in bingeing. Rats were then injected with 2OHE2 (1.0, 3.0, and 10.0 μg/kg intraperitoneally), vehicle, or 2-methoxyestradiol (2ME2) immediately prior to fat access. Fat intake was significantly stimulated by 2OHE2 only in the INT rats (p<0.03). Furthermore, this effect seemed to be more subtle in females than in males. Thus, 2OHE2 appears to exacerbate binge size. These data suggest a novel biological mechanism for sex differences in the risk of eating disorders.

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