Impact of Binge-Like Fat Intake On Central Glucagon-Like Peptide-1 Expression in Female Rats

Ashmita Mukherjee

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Graduate Student Project


Binge-eating disorder (BED) is a prevalent problem in the United States, affecting approximately 2.8 million Americans according to a national survey.

My name is Ashmita Mukherjee, a 2nd year master's student in Psychology with a concentration in Behavioral Neuroscience, here at University at Buffalo. I have worked with Dr. Elizabeth Mietlicki-Baase as my mentor for the past two years throughout my graduate work. Our lab studies the neurohormonal mechanisms of feeding behavior, and personally I have worked on studying the impact of binge-like eating on the central and peripheral GLP-1 system using a rodent model.

Binge eating disorder involves dysregulation of motivated feeding and satiety, and the treatment options for patients suffering from BED are severely limited. Researchers have been examining whether pharmacological strategies targeting feeding related hormones might be potential treatment options for BED. One such feeding peptide is Glucagon-Like-Peptide-1 (GLP-1), and it is involved in mediating satiety and motivated feeding behavior. Therefore, understanding the impact of binge-eating on GLP-1 may provide insight into whether GLP-1 based pharmacotherapies are possible treatment options for BED.


Binge eating is characterized by eating large portions of food in a small period of time. We have shown that male rats with Intermittent (INT; 1h/day, M-W-F) fat access display binge-like intake and have reduced nucleus tractus solitarius (NTS) expression of glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1), a peptide that suppresses feeding, compared to rats with Daily (D; 1h/day everyday) fat access. Here, we tested whether binge-like intake affects NTS GLP-1 in female rats. Surprisingly, female rats with INT fat access did not display binge-like intake compared to D females. Therefore, separate female rats were given 24h fat access every 4th day (4D), or Ad Libitum (AL), with a chow-only control group. Female 4D rats displayed binge-like feeding, but no change in NTS GLP-1 expression. However, AL rats had increased NTS GLP-1 receptor expression compared to controls. These findings suggest there may be sex differences in how binge-like feeding impacts the GLP-1 system.

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