Serotonin 5-HT2C Receptor Activation Suppresses Binge Intake and the Reinforcing and Motivational Properties of High-Fat Food (2018)

Front Pharmacol. 2018 Jul 27;9:821. doi: 10.3389/fphar.2018.00821.

Price AE1, Anastasio NC1,2, Stutz SJ1, Hommel JD1,2, Cunningham KA1,2.


Binge eating disorder (BED) is characterized by dysfunctional hedonic food intake and reward-related processes. Activation of the serotonin (5-HT) 5-HT2C receptor (5-HT2CR) suppresses both food intake and reward-related behaviors and is thus poised to regulate BED. This study assessed the effects of 5-HT2CR activation via the selective 5-HT2CR agonist WAY163909 on binge eating-related behaviors in adult male Sprague-Dawley rats. Low doses of WAY163909 (1.0, 2.0 mg/kg) suppressed high-fat food (HFF) binge intake, but not standard food non-binge intake. WAY163909 (1.0 mg/kg) also attenuated operant responding for self-administered HFF pellets on fixed and progressive ratio schedules of reinforcement, indicating that 5-HT2CR activation suppresses the reinforcing and motivational properties of HFF, respectively. These findings suggest that activation of the 5-HT2CR may be effective at suppressing binge eating in patients with BED via suppression of the reinforcing and motivational properties of HFF. This work supports future studies targeting the 5-HT2CR in the treatment of BED.


5-HT2C receptor; binge eating; high-fat food; motivation; serotonin

PMID: 30100875

PMCID: PMC6072841

DOI: 10.3389/fphar.2018.00821