CEXS-UPF: Mice develop an addiction to chocolate

CEXS-UPF: Mice develop an addiction to chocolate

News from CEXS-UPF

Obesity and related medical disorders pose a problem of great magnitude in the developed countries where prevalence has continued to grow significantly in recent years. The latest studies have linked obesity and food intake disorders with diseases with an addiction profile that might share similar biological substrates with those involved in drug addiction.A study published on 6 May in Neuropsychopharmacology, directed by Rafael Maldonado, director of the Neuropharmacology Laboratory of the Department of Experimental and Health Sciences (CEXS) at UPF, shows that it is possible to induce eating addictive-like behaviour in mice and that they show symptoms similar to those accepted in the latest edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) to define drug addiction criteria.

This study enables a new breakthrough in the understanding of food-induced behavioural disorders and understanding the neurobiological bases of these disorders, which could be new indicators to define vulnerability to suffering an eating disorder.

As Maldonado explains, "this type of addictive behaviour was induced in the animals through the administration of highly palatable chocolate-flavoured pellets that the mice had to actively seek in an operant behaviour chamber", adding that "after lengthy training in the search for this type of food, the mice that developed this addictive behaviour performed between 600 and 2,000 active lever responses to get a single 20 mg chocolate-flavoured food pellet".

More information:

S. Mancino, A. Burokas, J. Gutiérrez-Cuesta, M. Gutiérrez Martos, E. Martín-García, M. Pucci, A. Falconi, C. D'Addario, M. Maccarrone, R. Maldonado, (2015), "Epigenetic and Proteomic Expression Changes Promoted by Eating Addictive-like Behavior",  Neuropsychopharmacology, May 6. doi: 10.1038 / npp.2015.129.