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Keywords:

  • endophenotype;
  • mouse;
  • psychiatry, animal model

Abstract

Family and twin studies have indicated that genetic factors play a role in the development of eating disorders, such as anorexia and bulimia nervosa, but novel views and tools may enhance the identification of neurobiological mechanisms underlying these conditions. Here we propose an integrative genetic approach to reveal novel biological substrates of eating disorder traits analogous in mouse and human. For example, comparable to behavioral hyperactivity that is observed in 40–80% of anorexia nervosa patients, inbred strains of mice with different genetic backgrounds are differentially susceptible to develop behavioral hyperactivity when food restricted. In addition, a list of characteristics that are relevant to eating disorders and approaches to their measurement in humans together with potential analogous rodent models has been generated. Interspecies genetics of neurobehavioral characteristics of eating disorders has the potential to open new roads to identify and functionally test genetic pathways that influence neurocircuits relevant for these heterogeneous psychiatric disorders. © 2008 Wiley-Liss, Inc.