The rewarding effects of ethanol are modulated by binge eating of a high-fat diet during adolescence (2017)

2017 Jul 15;121:219-230. doi: 10.1016/j.neuropharm.2017.04.040. 

Blanco-Gandía MC1, Ledesma JC1, Aracil-Fernández A2, Navarrete F2, Montagud-Romero S1, Aguilar MA1, Manzanares J2, Miñarro J1, Rodríguez-Arias M3.


Binge-eating is considered a specific form of overeating characterized by intermittent and high caloric food intake in a short period of time. Epidemiologic studies support a positive relation between the ingestion of fat and ethanol (EtOH), specifically among adolescent subjects. The aim of this work was to clarify the role of the compulsive, limited and intermittent intake of a high-fat food during adolescence on the rewarding effects of EtOH. After binge-eating for 2 h, three days a week from postnatal day (PND) 29, the reinforcing effects of EtOH were tested with EtOH self-administration (SA), conditioned place preference (CPP) and ethanol locomotor sensitization procedures in young adult mice. Animals in the high fat binge (HFB) group that underwent the EtOH SA procedure presented greater EtOH consumption and a higher motivation to obtain the drug. HFB mice also developed preference for the paired compartment in the CPP with a subthreshold dose of EtOH. Independently of the diet, mice developed EtOH-induced locomotor sensitization. After the SA procedure, HFB mice exhibited reduced levels of the mu opioid receptor (MOr) and increased cannabinoid 1 receptor (CB1r) gene expression in the nucleus accumbens (N Acc), and decreased of tyrosine hydroxylase (TH) gene expression in the ventral tegmental area (VTA). Taken together the results suggest that bingeing on fat may represent a vulnerability factor to an escalation of EtOH consumption.

KEYWORDS: Binge eating; Conditioned place preference; Ethanol; Fat; Gene expression; Self-administration