Neurological mechanisms relevant to intermittent episodes of behavioral excess are not well understood, but bear investigation due to the contribution of this kind of behavior to health problems such as disordered eating, obesity and substance abuse. We have developed a unique rat bingeing protocol, which we have been using to examine the neurobiology associated with repeated intermittent excessive fat intake that is maintained over extended periods of time. Peptides that regulate fat intake under non-binge conditions are without effect when rats binge on fat. In contrast, recent results from my laboratory show that the GABA-B agonist baclofen reduces fat intake in our protocol, while having no effect in non-bingeing protocols. Others have reported that baclofen reduces self-administration of abused drugs. This suggests that the neurobiology of bingeing is different from that of non-binge behavior, but may share similarities with the neurobiology of substance abuse. Therefore, we will use baclofen to test the overall hypothesis guiding this research, i.e. that GABA-B receptors have a role in binge-type eating. The following Specific Aims will be addressed:
AIM 1 : To test the hypothesis that GABA-B ligands will differentially affect fat consumption in bingeing and non-bingeing rats. Hypotheses: a) Lower dosages of baclofen will reduce food intake to a greater extent in bingeing rats than in non-bingeing rats; Lower dosages of baclofen will reduce food intake to a greater extent in females than in males; b) Baclofen-induced reductions in binge intake will be mediated centrally; GABA-B receptor blockade will stimulate binge intake; c) Dosages of GABA-B ligands that affect food intake will not affect general behavioral activity in the bingeing rats.
AIM 2 : To test the hypothesis that baclofen-induced reductions in fat intake are enhanced with repeated bingeing. Hypothesis: Lower dosages of baclofen will reduce food intake to a greater extent in rats that have repeatedly binged than in rats that have engaged in fewer binge episodes.
AIM 3 : To test the hypothesis that the VTA is a sensitive site of action for baclofen-induced reductions in bingeing. Hypothesis: Lower doses of baclofen will reduce bingeing when infused into the VTA than when infused into the striatum or substantia nigra. These studies are the first to examine the contribution of GABA-B receptors to bingeing and will provide new insight into the neurobiology of bingeing-related disorders

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH)
Research Project (R01)
Project #
Application #
Study Section
Neurobiology of Motivated Behavior Study Section (NMB)
Program Officer
Vicentic, Aleksandra
Project Start
Project End
Budget Start
Budget End
Support Year
Fiscal Year
Total Cost
Indirect Cost
Pennsylvania State University
Schools of Allied Health Profes
University Park
United States
Zip Code
Corwin, Rebecca L W; Wojnicki, Francis H E; Zimmer, Derek J et al. (2016) Binge-type eating disrupts dopaminergic and GABAergic signaling in the prefrontal cortex and ventral tegmental area. Obesity (Silver Spring) 24:2118-25
Wojnicki, F H E; Johnson, D S; Charny, G et al. (2015) Development of bingeing in rats altered by a small operant requirement. Physiol Behav 152:112-8
Wojnicki, Francis H E; Brown, Shane D; Corwin, Rebecca L W (2014) Factors affecting the ability of baclofen to reduce fat intake in rats. Behav Pharmacol 25:166-72
Wojnicki, F H E; Babbs, R K; Corwin, R L W (2013) Environments predicting intermittent shortening access reduce operant performance but not home cage binge size in rats. Physiol Behav 116-117:35-43
Wojnicki, F H E; Charny, G; Corwin, R L W (2013) Baclofen-induced reductions in optional food intake depend upon food composition. Appetite 64:62-70
Babbs, R K; Unger, E L; Corwin, R L W (2013) 2-Hydroxyestradiol enhances binge onset in female rats and reduces prefrontal cortical dopamine in male rats. Horm Behav 63:88-96
Babbs, R K; Wojnicki, F H E; Corwin, R L W (2012) Assessing binge eating. An analysis of data previously collected in bingeing rats. Appetite 59:478-82
Corwin, Rebecca L W; Babbs, R Keith (2012) Rodent models of binge eating: are they models of addiction? ILAR J 53:23-34
Yu, Zhiping; Geary, Nori; Corwin, Rebecca L (2011) Individual effects of estradiol and progesterone on food intake and body weight in ovariectomized binge rats. Physiol Behav 104:687-93
Babbs, R K; Wojnicki, F H E; Corwin, R L W (2011) Effect of 2-hydroxyestradiol on binge intake in rats. Physiol Behav 103:508-12

Showing the most recent 10 out of 27 publications