Hedonic Dysfunction and Neuroadaptations

Responsible :


Katia Befort

Members :

Alumnis :

General theme

Binge eating disorder (BED) is the most prevalent eating disorder in modern society, affecting both men and women. It is characterized by frequent episodes of palatable food consumption in large quantities, in a short period, and its etiology is still largely unknown. Behavioral and neurobiological adaptations in this disorder may share similarities with those observed in substance use disorder. We are interested in deciphering adaptive processes and molecular mechanisms underlying uncontrolled overeating behavior in reward-related brain circuits. We are particularly interested in the endocannabinoid and opioid systems, which play a major role in reward, nociception and food intake. Comorbidities associated with BED include obesity, but also anxiety and mood disorders such as depression and cognitive deficits. Binge eating may also be a major risk factor for the development of chronic pain, underpinned by neuroinflammatory mechanisms. We have developed rodent models of this pathology to study not only some of the biological determinants of maladaptive eating behavior, but also its behavioral determinants by adopting a dimensional and longitudinal approach.

Techniques :

We combine molecular biology and functional neuroanatomy approaches with animal behavior. We use classical molecular techniques (qPCR, WB, IHC). We have a strong expertise in the field of epigenetics with analysis of DNA methylation profiles related to drugs of abuse (MeDIP) and binding of proteins to DNA molecules using chromatin precipitation assays (ChIP). We also have an expertise in G-protein coupled receptor signaling. We perform neuroanatomical tract tracing and use viral based approaches to investigate brain circuits underlying the loss of control over palatable food intake. We use classical behavioral tasks for cognition, nociception, addictive behaviors and mood state as well as operant paradigms to study motivation and decision making.

Collaborations :

K Merienne, LNCA, Strasbourg
Lucas Lecourtier, INCI, Strasbourg
Victor Mathis, INCI, Strasbourg
J Mendoza, INCI, Strasbourg
D Massotte, INCI, Strasbourg
Y Goumon, INCI, Strasbourg
J Zoll, CRBS, Strasbourg
MC Olmstead, Queen’s University, Kingston, ON, Canada
I Décosterd, Chuv, Lausanne, Suisse
JL Cadet, NIDA, Baltimore USA