Memantine reduces consumption of highly palatable food in a rat model of binge eating

Amino Acids. 2011 Feb;40(2):477-85. doi: 10.1007/s00726-010-0659-3. Epub 2010 Jun 23.


Excessive consumption of highly palatable food has been linked to the development of eating disorders and obesity, and can be modeled in non-food-deprived rats by offering them a limited (2-h daily) access to an optional dietary fat. Since the glutamatergic system has recently emerged as a viable target for binge-eating medication development, we compared the effects of subchronic treatment with glutamatergic receptor antagonists to the effects of a reference appetite-suppressing agent sibutramine on highly palatable food (lard) and normal chow intake. In three separate experiments, the consumption of a standard laboratory chow and lard were measured during 12 days of medication treatment and for 6 days afterwards. Generalized estimating equations analysis demonstrated that sibutramine (7.5 mg/kg, p.o.) significantly decreased lard consumption, with a concurrent increase in chow consumption. Sibutramine effects disappeared after treatment discontinuation. The NMDA receptor antagonist memantine (5 mg/kg, i.p.) significantly decreased lard consumption and increased chow consumption, comparable to effects of sibutramine; however, memantine's effects persisted after treatment discontinuation. The effects of the mGluR5 antagonist MTEP (7.5 mg/kg, i.p.) on food consumption were in the same direction as seen with memantine, but the observed differences were not significant. In an additional control experiment, sibutramine and memantine reduced unlimited (24 h) chow intake during the treatment phase. Present results provide evidence that glutamatergic neurotransmission might be involved in the regulation of excessive consumption of highly palatable foods, and suggest that NMDA receptor may be an attractive target for developing obesity and disordered eating pharmacotherapies.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Binge-Eating Disorder / drug therapy*
  • Binge-Eating Disorder / metabolism
  • Binge-Eating Disorder / physiopathology
  • Binge-Eating Disorder / psychology
  • Dietary Fats / administration & dosage
  • Dietary Fats / adverse effects
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Eating / drug effects
  • Feeding Behavior / drug effects
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Memantine / administration & dosage*
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley
  • Receptor, Metabotropic Glutamate 5
  • Receptors, Metabotropic Glutamate / antagonists & inhibitors
  • Receptors, Metabotropic Glutamate / genetics
  • Receptors, Metabotropic Glutamate / metabolism


  • Dietary Fats
  • GRM5 protein, human
  • Grm5 protein, rat
  • Receptor, Metabotropic Glutamate 5
  • Receptors, Metabotropic Glutamate
  • Memantine