Excessive sugar intake alters binding to dopamine and mu-opioid receptors in the brain.
Colantuoni, C. 1,2; Schwenker, J. 1; McCarthy, J. 1; Rada, P. 1; Ladenheim, B. 4; Cadet, J.-L. 4; Schwartz, G. J. 3; Moran, T. H. 3; Hoebel, B. G. 1, CA
12(16):3549-3552, November 16, 2001.
(Format: HTML, PDF)
Palatable food stimulates neural systems implicated in drug dependence; thus sugar might have effects like a drug of abuse. Rats were given 25% glucose solution with chow for 12 h followed by 12 h of food deprivation each day. They doubled their glucose intake in 10 days and developed a pattern of excessive intake in the first hour of daily access. After 30 days, receptor binding was compared to chow-fed controls. Dopamine D-1 receptor binding increased significantly in the accumbens core and shell. In contrast, D-2 binding decreased in the dorsal striatum. Binding to dopamine transporter increased in the midbrain. Opioid mu-1 receptor binding increased significantly in the cingulate cortex, hippocampus, locus coeruleus and accumbens shell. Thus, intermittent, excessive sugar intake sensitized D-1 and mu-1 receptors much like some drugs of abuse.
(C) 2001 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.