Activity-based anorexia disrupts systemic oxidative state and induces cortical mitochondrial fission in adolescent female rats

Matthew M. Hurley, Kateryna Murlanova, Lindsey K. Macias, Aliasgher I. Sabir, Shannon C. O'Brien, Harshit Bhasin, Kellie L. Tamashiro, Mikhail V. Pletnikov, Timothy H. Moran

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: Patients with Anorexia Nervosa (AN) display increased levels of oxidative stress that correlates with disease severity. Unfortunately, the biological ramifications of AN-induced oxidative stress on the brain are largely unknown. Our lab uses the preclinical activity–based anorexia (ABA) paradigm to model symptoms of AN. The goal of the present study was to determine how ABA experience affects oxidative state and its consequences in adolescent female rats. Method: We compared systemic glutathione and cysteine plasma concentrations and medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC) mitochondrial fission in ABA animals at maximum weight loss or following 10-days of weight recovery to levels in age-matched sedentary (SED) control rats. Results: ABA animals at maximum weight loss had significantly lower plasma levels of cysteine and glutathione compared to SED controls. Additionally, ABA animals at max weight loss have significantly more mPFC mitochondrial fission. There were no significant differences in plasma analyte levels or mitochondrial fission between weight recovered ABA animals and SED controls. Discussion: These data suggest that ABA experience results in oxidative stress that is remedied after weight restoration. The long-lasting ramifications of transient periods of increased oxidative stress are unknown and can lead to significant consequences on brain function and behavior.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)639-645
Number of pages7
JournalInternational Journal of Eating Disorders
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2021


  • animal models
  • anorexia nervosa
  • eating disorders
  • oxidative stress

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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