A model of binge-like eating behavior in mice that does not require food deprivation or stress

Obesity (Silver Spring). 2010 Sep;18(9):1710-7. doi: 10.1038/oby.2010.46. Epub 2010 Mar 18.


Binge eating disorder (BED) is characterized by excessive food intake during a short period of time and is often associated with obesity. Mouse models of binge-like eating behavior are lacking making it difficult to employ genetic models in the identification of mechanisms regulating excessive eating. We report a rapid and simple model to induce binge-like eating behavior in mice that does not require food deprivation or exogenous stressors. Weekly 24 h access to a nutritionally complete high energy diet (HED), along with continuous access to standard chow, resulted in a significant increase in HED intake following its presentation compared to mice that had continuous access to both diets. Mice exhibiting binge-like eating consumed one-third of their normal total daily caloric intake within 2.5 h of HED presentation. Moreover, total 24-h caloric intakes were increased by 50% in mice exhibiting binge-like eating. Following repeated cycles, binge-like eating of the HED was maintained over several weeks with no evidence of habituation or significant alterations in body weight and adiposity. Pharmacological evaluation of binge-like eating behavior was performed using clinically employed compounds. Interestingly, binge-like eating was dose-dependently decreased by fluoxetine, but not baclofen or topiramate. These data support clinical validation of this mouse model of binge-like eating behavior, as fluoxetine has been shown to reduce binge frequency in human subjects with BED. The availability of transgenic and knockout mice will allow for the determination of genes that are involved in the initiation and maintenance of binge-like eating behavior.

MeSH terms

  • Adiposity / physiology
  • Animals
  • Anti-Obesity Agents / pharmacology
  • Baclofen / pharmacology
  • Behavior, Animal* / drug effects
  • Binge-Eating Disorder* / drug therapy
  • Binge-Eating Disorder* / physiopathology
  • Body Weight / physiology
  • Diet*
  • Disease Models, Animal*
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Energy Intake / drug effects
  • Energy Intake / physiology*
  • Fluoxetine / pharmacology
  • Fluoxetine / therapeutic use
  • Fructose / analogs & derivatives
  • Fructose / pharmacology
  • GABA-B Receptor Agonists / pharmacology
  • Habituation, Psychophysiologic
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL*
  • Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors / pharmacology
  • Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors / therapeutic use*
  • Topiramate


  • Anti-Obesity Agents
  • GABA-B Receptor Agonists
  • Serotonin Uptake Inhibitors
  • Fluoxetine
  • Topiramate
  • Fructose
  • Baclofen