Balanced diets can prevent binge-like eating

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Science  23 Jun 2017:
Vol. 356, Issue 6344, pp. 1244-1245
DOI: 10.1126/science.356.6344.1244-c

Binge-like eating (BE) predominantly affects females and usually manifests in late adolescence. Previous studies have linked eating disorders to early life stress, and it is known that perinatal stress increases susceptibility to a variety of psychiatric disorders. Schroeder et al. have discovered a prenatal stress (PNS)–induced epigenetic predisposition to BE that can be mitigated by adolescent diet. When overexpression of maternal corticotropin-releasing factor was used to trigger PNS in mice, female offspring were found to be predisposed to BE behavior. This was coincident with reduced expression of DNA methyltransferases in the hypothalamus, resulting in hypomethylation and dysregulation of downstream gene expression. Mice subsequently given a methyl-balanced diet in adolescence had normalized DNA methyltransferase expression and did not exhibit BE behavior; this approach thus provides a noninvasive prevention strategy.

Cell Metab. 25, 1 (2017).

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