Food-anticipatory activity: Rat models and underlying mechanisms
Merkestein M., Verhagen LAW., Adan RAH.
In Western societies, the prevalence of obesity continues to increase and, hence, the need to unravel pathways and mechanisms that regulate (un)healthy food intake increases concurrently. This chapter focuses on animal models of food-anticipatory activity (FAA). In rats, FAA occurs when they have time-restricted access to food or a palatable snack, and includes increased locomotor activity and arousal prior to food access. These models can be used to shed more light on research questions, particularly What happens in the brain when we are triggered to think about food? Three animal models of FAA will be discussed, namely the activity-based anorexia model, a restricted feeding schedule model, and a palatable feeding schedule model. Descriptions of how these models are run in our lab are provided. In addition, the potential mechanisms underlying FAA, with a special focus on leptin, dopamine, and ghrelin signaling, are described. © 2013 Springer Science+Business Media, LLC.