Food seeking in spite of harmful consequences

Rossella Ventura, Emanuele Claudio Latagliata, Enrico Patrono, Matteo Di Segni, Stefano Puglisi-Allegra

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In industrialized nations, overeating is a significant problem leading to overweight, obesity, and a host of related disorders; the increase in these disorders has prompted a significant amount of research aimed at understanding their etiology. Eating disorders are multifactorial conditions involving genetic, metabolic, environmental, and behavioral factors. Considering that compulsive eating in the face of adverse consequences characterizes some eating disorders, similar to the way in which compulsive drug intake characterizes drug addiction, it might be considered an addiction in its own right. Moreover, numerous review articles have recently drawn a connection between the neural circuits activated in the seeking/intake of palatable food and drugs of abuse. Based on this observation, food addiction has emerged as an area of intense scientific research, and accumulating evidence suggests that it is possible to model some aspects of food addiction in animals. The development of well-characterized animal models would advance our understanding of the etiologic neural factors involved in eating disorders, such as compulsive overeating, and it would permit to propose targeted pharmacological therapies. However, to date, little evidence has been reported of continued food seeking and intake despite its harmful consequences in rats and mice.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)235-254
Number of pages20
Publication statusPublished - 2013


  • Animal models
  • Chocolate
  • Eating disorders
  • Food compulsion
  • Norepinephrine
  • Prefrontal cortex

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Pharmacology, Toxicology and Pharmaceutics(all)
  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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