The stress system is well known to play an important role in relapse to drug abuse and excessive eating and is largely controlled by corticotropin releasing hormone receptors (CRHR) and their endogenous ligands. Earlier we showed that intermittent access to highly palatable food induced anxiety-like behavior that was reversible by CRHR1 antagonists such as antalarmin indicating that such antagonists may be useful in the treatment of human eating disorders. Nonpeptide antagonists of corticotropin hormone receptor system have also been shown to blunt excessive eating in animal models of binge eating with high sucrose low fat diets. During the reporting period, we studied the brain regions that mediate these behaviors by using a combination of CRH immunostaining and microinjection of of the CRHR1 antagonist R121919 into the central nucleus of the amygdala (CeA), the bed nucleus of the stria terminalis (BNST) and the basolateral nucleus of the amygdala (BIA). Our results showed that the CEA and BIA have differential roles in the mediating maladaptive behaviors associated with palatable food-associated stress.

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