THE INFLUENCE OF ADOLESCENT ANOREXIA NERVOSA SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS ON ANXIETY IN YOUNG ADULT FEMALE RATS AND FEMALE UNIVERSITY STUDENTS
Activity-based anorexia (ABA) is a rodent model of anorexia nervosa (AN) that induces several key components of AN, including voluntary reduction in food intake, reduced body weight, hyperactivity, and alterations to the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis. Experiencing ABA during adolescence also effects behavior in social contexts, including contributing to the development of social avoidance even after cessation of exposure to the paradigm and restoration of weight lost during ABA. We used the social partition (SPT), novelty suppressed feeding (NSF), marble burying, and elevated plus maze (EPM) tests to determine the effects of two bouts of adolescent ABA on anxiety-like behavior in weight restored young adult female rats. One-way ANOVA analyses showed that two bouts of adolescent ABA contribute to prolonged increases in general and social avoidance in young adult female rats compared with control rats. To explain our behavioral findings, we next explored the effects of two bouts of adolescent ABA on glial fibrillary acidic protein (GFAP) and corticotropin-releasing hormone receptor 1 (CRFR1) expression in the oval bed nucleus of the stria terminalis (ovBNST), a brain region involved in anxiety and social behavior. While previous research shows that two bouts of adolescent ABA contribute to HPA axis hyperactivation and ovBNST inflammation following weight restoration from adolescent ABA, our one-way ANOVA analyses showed no significant differences in GFAP or CRFR1 expression in the ovBNST across groups. Finally, to explore whether adolescent AN symptoms can predict anxiety in young adult women, we had female university students complete retrospective surveys of adolescent food restriction, eating disorder symptoms (EDEQ), and physical activity, as well as retrospective surveys of worry, behavioral inhibition, childhood adversity, and parental style. Using these variables, we created four adolescent predictor models: 1 (EDEQ; physical activity), 2 (restrictive eating; physical activity), 3 (EDEQ; physical activity; worry; behavioral inhibition; childhood adversity; and parental style), and 4 (restrictive eating; physical activity; worry; behavioral inhibition; childhood adversity; and parental style), which we regressed onto participants’ current generalized anxiety, fear of food, social avoidance, obsessions, compulsions, social physique anxiety, compulsive physical activity, and perceived stress scores. Regressing each predictor model onto these variables revealed that predictor model 1 better predicted and accounted for more variance in all anxiety types compared with predictor model 2. Moreover, predictor model 1 accounted for the most variance in fear of food and social physique anxiety compared with all anxiety types. Finally, predictor models 3 and 4 explained the most additional variance in generalized anxiety and social avoidance compared with all anxiety types. Cumulatively, our data suggest that, while adolescent eating disorder signs and symptoms predict several anxiety types in female university students, the effects of two bouts of ABA during adolescence on anxiety-like behavior in weight restored female rats is limited to specific anxiety-provoking stimuli.
- Doctor of Philosophy
- Psychological Sciences
- West Lafayette