Main content area

Binge-like intake of HFD attenuates alcohol intake in rats

Sirohi, Sunil, Van Cleef, Arriel, Davis, Jon F.
Physiology & behavior 2016
alcohol abuse, alcohol drinking, binging, brain, comorbidity, eating disorders, ethanol, etiology, high fat diet, males, rats, sucrose
Binge eating and binge alcohol intake are behavioral manifestations of pathological feeding and alcohol use disorder (AUD), respectively. Binge-feeding and AUD have high comorbidity with other psychiatric disorders such as depression, which could have important implications for the management of these conditions. Importantly, these behaviors share many common features suggesting a singular etiology. However, the nature by which binge-feeding affects the development or maintenance of AUD is unclear. The present study examined the impact of a binge-feeding from a nutritionally complete high-fat diet (HFD) on initiation and maintenance of alcohol intake, anxiolytic behavior and central genetic changes in brain regions that control alcohol-reinforced behaviors. To do this, male Long-Evans rats received chow (controls) or HFD every three days (HFD-3D) or every day (HFD-ED) for 5weeks. Rodent chow and water were available ad-libitum to all groups throughout the experiment. Following 5weeks of HFD cycling, 20.0% ethanol or 2.0% sucrose intake was evaluated. In addition, anxiety-like behavior was measured using a light-dark box apparatus. Both HFD-3D and -ED groups of rats consumed significantly large amount of food during 2h HFD access sessions and reduced their chow intake in the next 22h. Surprisingly, binge-fed rats displayed attenuated acquisition of alcohol intake whereas sucrose consumption was unaffected. Rats exposed to HFD spent more time in the light side compared to chow controls, indicating that binge-feeding induced anxiolytic effects. In addition, alterations in the brain neurotensin system were observed following HFD exposure. These data indicate that binge-feeding behavior induces behavioral and genetic changes that help explain how alcohol intake is influenced by co-morbid eating disorders.