The Neurobiology of Anorexia Nervosa: integrating cellular mechanisms into brain circuits
Anorexia Nervosa is an eating disorder characterized by exaggerated weight loss, fear of gaining weight, self-depreciation. It mostly affects young women and is most likely have the highest death rate of any other mental illnesses and of many diseases in general. Anorexia is notoriously treatment refractory and the main explanation is the poor understanding of the dysfunctional brain function that underlies it. Until we understand the neurobiology of Anorexia, namely, which part of the brain and which mechanisms are affected, there is little hope to develop efficient therapeutic strategies to help those afflicted young women. Here, we propose a collaborative effort to understanding the neurobiology of Anorexia. Specifically, we suspect that estrogens -a female sex hormones that also regulate feeding by acting in the brain- may contribute to Anorexia. In preliminary findings, we started understanding the mechanisms by which estrogens regulate feeding in male and female rodents and here we will expand this finding into the brain circuitry of feeding.