Brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) is abundantly expressed in brain regions in-volved in both homeostatic and hedonic feeding, and it circulates at reduced levels in patients with anorexia nervosa (AN). A single nucleotide polymorphism in the gene encoding for BDNF (Val66Met) has been associated with worse outcomes in patients with AN, and it is shown to promote anorectic behaviour in a mouse model of caloric restriction paired with social isolation stress. Previous animal models of the Val66Met polymorphism have been in mice because of the greater ease in modification of the mouse genome, however, the most widely-accepted animal model of AN, known as activity-based anorexia (ABA), is most commonly conducted in rats. Here, we examine ABA outcomes in a novel rat model of the BDNF Val66Met allelic variation (Val68Met), and we investigate the role of this polymorphism in feeding, food choice and sucrose preference, and energy expenditure. We demonstrate that the BDNF Val68Met polymorphism does not influence susceptibility to ABA or any aspect of feeding behaviour. The discrepancy between these results and previous reports in mice may relate to species–specific differences in stress reactivity.
- activity-based anorexia
- animal models
- anorexia nervosa
- brain-derived neurotrophic factor