A rat in the labyrinth of anorexia nervosa: Contributions of the activity-based anorexia rodent model to the understanding of anorexia nervosa

Authors

  • Emilio Gutierrez PhD

    Corresponding author
    1. Departamento de Psicología Clínica y Psicobiología, Facultad de Psicología, Universidad de Santiago de Compostela, Santiago de Compostela, Spain
    2. Unidad Venres Clínicos, Facultad de Psicología, Universidad de Santiago de Compostela, Santiago de Compostela, Spain
    • Departamento de Psicología Clínica y Psicobiología, Facultad de Psicología, Universidad de Santiago, Campus Vida, 15706 Santiago de Compostela, Spain
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  • Supported by Venres Clinicos Unit, University of Santiago de Compostela.

Abstract

Activity-based anorexia (ABA) is an analogous animal model of anorexia nervosa where food-restricted rats develop excessive running activity when given free access to a running wheel; their body weight sharply decreases, and finally self-starvation and death ensue unless animals are removed from the experimental conditions. The parallel of this animal model with major signs in the human disorder has been the focus of much attention from researchers and clinicians as a platform for translational research. The paper reviews the historical antecedents of ABA, research characterizing its occurrence, and its main limitations and strengths as a model of AN. As a symptomatic model of AN, the ABA model can provide clinicians with innovative and alternative routes for improving the treatment of AN. © 2013 by Wiley Periodicals, Inc. (Int J Eat Disord 2013)

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