Food and Behaviour Research

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A Methyl-Balanced Diet Prevents CRF-Induced Prenatal Stress-Triggered Predisposition to Binge Eating-like Phenotype

Schroeder M, Jakovcevski M, Polacheck T, Lebow M, Drori Y, Engel M, Ben-Dor S, Chen A (2017) Cell Metab May 2017 

Web URL: Read the article on Science Direct here


Binge eating (BE) is a common aberrant form of eating behavior, characterized by overconsumption of food in a brief period of time. Recurrent episodes of BE constitute the BE disorder, which mostly affects females and is associated with early-life adversities.

Here, we show that corticotropin releasing factor (CRF)-induced prenatal stress (PNS) in late gestation predisposes female offspring to BE-like behavior that coincides with hypomethylation of hypothalamic miR-1a and downstream dysregulation of the melanocortin system through Pax7/Pax3.

Moreover, exposing the offspring to a methyl-balanced diet during adolescence prevents the dysregulation and predisposition from being triggered.

We demonstrate that gestational programming, per se, will not lead to BE-like behavior, but pre-existing alterations due to prenatal programming are revealed only when challenged during adolescence.

We provide experimental evidence for long-term epigenetic abnormalities stemming from PNS in predisposing female offspring to BE disorder as well as a potential non-invasive prevention strategy.


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