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Keywords:

  • binge eating;
  • eating disorders;
  • animal models;
  • sex differences;
  • bulimia;
  • nervosa;
  • binge eating disorder;
  • rodents

ABSTRACT

Objective

Several efforts are underway to model binge eating in animals in order to advance neurobiological models of risk. However, knowledge of sex differences in these models is currently lacking. The goal of the present study was to examine sex differences in binge eating phenotypes using a well-established rodent model (i.e., the binge eating resistant/binge eating prone model).

Method

Thirty male and 30 female adult Sprague-Dawley rats were exposed to feeding tests consisting of intermittent access to palatable food (PF). Rats were then categorized as binge eating prone (BEP) based on the amount and consistency of PF consumption across tests.

Results

Across multiple methods for BEP classification, rates of BEP phenotypes were two to six times higher in female than male rats.

Discussion

Findings provide support for sex differences in rodent models of binge eating and highlight the promise of the BER/BEP model for understanding neurobiological mechanisms underlying sex differences in risk. © 2013 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. (Int J Eat Disord 2013; 46:729–736)