Piracetam attenuates binge eating disorder related symptoms in rats

Pharmacol Biochem Behav. 2018 Jun;169:35-47. doi: 10.1016/j.pbb.2018.04.003. Epub 2018 Apr 12.


Binge eating disorder (BED) is a stress-related disorder characterized by acute episodes of excessive food intake. Piracetam, a nootropic agent has been reported to show several other neuropharmacological properties. The present study, evaluated the pharmacological effect of piracetam (200 mg/kg i.p.) on BED in female rats, induced by free access to palatable cookies for 2 h on alternate days. BED was confirmed by an increase in binge eating behavior and weight gain. BED leads to anxiety, cognitive and memory deficits, as evaluated by EPM (Elevated plus maze), OFT (open field test), and Y-maze tests. Increased levels of plasma corticosterone (CORT), glutamate in nucleus accumbens (NAC), hypothalamus (HYP) and prefrontal cortex (PFC) indicate stress and excitotoxicity. Moreover, it was observed that the levels of dopamine were higher in NAC and PFC, and less in HYP which may be responsible for motivational behavior for palatable feeding and cognitive deficits. More surprisingly, feeding behaviour regulating hormones namelyleptin was increased and ghrelin level was decreased in BED. Further, level of acetylcholine which regulates cognitive behaviour was compromised in BED. Piracetam significantly decreased binge eating behavior and associated body weight and regulated the levels of concerned neurotransmitters in respective regions. However, piracetam did not alter normal feeding behavior in the fast-refed model. Further, piracetam showed brain region-specific decrease in vascular endothelial growth factor expression. Piracetam showed anxiolytic activity and also alleviated cognitive deficit observed in BED. Hence, preclinical evidence indicates the potential use of piracetam for the treatment of BED.

Keywords: Acetylcholine; Binge eating disorder; Corticosterone; Dopamine; Ghrelin; Glutamate; Leptin; Piracetam.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Acetylcholine / metabolism
  • Animals
  • Bulimia / metabolism
  • Bulimia / prevention & control*
  • Cognition Disorders / prevention & control
  • Corticosterone / blood
  • Dopamine / blood
  • Feeding Behavior / drug effects
  • Female
  • Hypothalamus / metabolism
  • Maze Learning / drug effects
  • Memory / drug effects
  • Neurotransmitter Agents / metabolism
  • Nootropic Agents / pharmacology*
  • Nucleus Accumbens / metabolism
  • Piracetam / pharmacology*
  • Prefrontal Cortex / metabolism
  • Rats, Wistar
  • Weight Gain / drug effects


  • Neurotransmitter Agents
  • Nootropic Agents
  • Acetylcholine
  • Dopamine
  • Corticosterone
  • Piracetam