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Publication Detail
An assessment of rapamycin for weakening binge-eating memories via reconsolidation: a pre-registered, double-blind randomised placebo-controlled experimental study.
  • Publication Type:
    Journal article
  • Publication Sub Type:
  • Authors:
    Walsh K, Iskandar G, Kamboj SK, Das RK
  • Publication date:
  • Pagination:
    1, 10
  • Journal:
    Psychol Med
  • Status:
    Published online
  • Country:
  • PII:
  • Language:
  • Keywords:
    Binge eating, mTOR, memory, obesity, overweight, rapamycin, reconsolidation, reward
BACKGROUND: Maladaptive learning linking environmental food cues to high-palatability food reward plays a central role in overconsumption in obesity and binge eating disorders. The process of memory reconsolidation offers a mechanism to weaken such learning, potentially ameliorating over-eating behaviour. Here we investigated whether putatively interfering with synaptic plasticity using the mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) inhibitor, rapamycin, could weaken retrieved chocolate reward memories through blockade of reconsolidation. METHODS: Seventy five healthy volunteers with a tendency to binge eat chocolate were randomised to retrieve chocolate reward memory under 10 mg rapamycin (RET + RAP, active condition), or placebo (RET + PBO), or they received 10 mg rapamycin without subsequent retrieval (NO RET + RAP). Indices of chocolate reward memory strength were assessed one week pre and post manipulation and at one month follow-up. RESULTS: Contrary to hypotheses, the RET + RAP group did not show any greater reduction than control groups on indices of motivational salience of chocolate cues, motivation to consume chocolate or liking of chocolate. Mild evidence of improvement in the RET + RAP group was found, but this was limited to reduced chocolate binge episodes and improved healthy food choices. CONCLUSIONS: We did not find convincing evidence of comprehensive naturalistic chocolate reward memory reconsolidation blockade by rapamycin. The effects on chocolate bingeing and food choices may warrant further investigation. These limited positive findings may be attributable to insufficient interference with mTOR signalling with 10 mg rapamycin, or failure to destabilise chocolate memories during retrieval.
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