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Johnson PM, Kenny PJ. 
“Dopamine D2 receptors in addiction-like reward dysfunction and compulsive eating in obese rats”. 
Nat Neurosci. 2010 May 27;13(5):635-41.
We found that development of obesity was coupled with emergence of a progressively worsening deficit in neural reward responses. Similar changes in reward homeostasis induced by cocaine or heroin are considered to be crucial in triggering the transition from casual to compulsive drug-taking. Accordingly, we detected compulsive-like feeding behavior in obese but not lean rats, measured as palatable food consumption that was resistant to disruption by an aversive conditioned stimulus. Striatal dopamine D2 receptors D2Rs were downregulated in obese rats, as has been reported in humans addicted to drugs. Moreover, lentivirus-mediated knockdown of striatal D2Rs rapidly accelerated the development of addiction-like reward deficits and the onset of compulsive-like food seeking in rats with extended access to palatable high-fat food. These data demonstrate that overconsumption of palatable food triggers addiction-like neuroadaptive responses in brain reward circuits and drives the development of compulsive eating. Common hedonic mechanisms may therefore underlie obesity and drug addiction.
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Apr 17, 2011 1:59
Blog: neurotopia #

Dopamine and Obesity: The Food Addiction?

So they took some rats, and divided them into three groups. The first group (we will call them 'chow') got access only to normal boring old rat chow. The second group got limited access for 1 hour per day to a high fat diet, which is super tasty to rats (we'll call them the 'snackers'). The third group got their high fat diet cafeteria style, most of the day, every day (we will call them 'fat' because that's what they got). They then asked a whole bunch of questions using these three groups of rats.

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