Department Neuroscience and Pharmacology
Section Neurobiology of behaviour Function
Tel: +31 88 75 68877
Dr. M.J.H. Kas Title research
Functional analysis of selected candidate genes in the development of eating disorders using mouse models Summary research
Outcome in anorexia nervosa (AN) remains poor (Hoek, 2006) and further studies are required to understand the neurobiological mechanisms underlying this dramatic disorder for treatment development. For example, pre-clinical studies are necessary to identify and functional test biological substrates that may underlie this psychiatric disorder (Kas et al., 2008). The activity-based anorexia (ABA) model is a rodent model to study pathophysiological processes of AN in which food restriction leads to the development of food anticipatory activity (FAA).
Recent studies in rodents revealed various QTL associated with the development of FAA in animals. On the basis of these results candidate genes were chosen for further functional analysis in mice. Furthermore, the involvement of candidate genes encoding proteins of neuropeptide Y system, dopaminergic transmission and melanocortin signaling will be investigated for their involvement in eating disorder traits. In addition, upcoming genome-wide association studies for eating disorders will reveal human candidate genes that will need further functional analysis. All these genes point to neural pathways that can serve as targets for new drug and genetic therapies.