The activity-based anorexia mouse model

Methods Mol Biol. 2012;829:377-93. doi: 10.1007/978-1-61779-458-2_25.


Animals housed with running wheels and subjected to daily food restriction show paradoxical reductions in food intake and increases in running wheel activity. This phenomenon, known as activity-based anorexia (ABA), leads to marked reductions in body weight that can ultimately lead to death. Recently, ABA has been proposed as a model of anorexia nervosa (AN). AN affects about 8 per 100,000 females and has the highest mortality rate among all psychiatric illnesses. Given the reductions in quality of life, high mortality rate, and the lack of pharmacological treatments for AN, a better understanding of the mechanisms underlying AN-like behavior is greatly needed. This chapter provides basic guidelines for conducting ABA experiments using mice. The ABA mouse model provides an important tool for investigating the neurobiological underpinnings of AN-like behavior and identifying novel treatments.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Anorexia Nervosa / psychology*
  • Behavior, Animal
  • Body Weight
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Eating
  • Feeding Behavior
  • Hyperkinesis
  • Mice
  • Physical Conditioning, Animal / psychology*
  • Weight Loss