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1.  Linkage analysis of anorexia and bulimia nervosa cohorts using selected behavioral phenotypes as quantitative traits or covariates 
To increase the likelihood of finding genetic variation conferring liability to eating disorders, we measured over 100 attributes thought to be related to liability to eating disorders on affected individuals from multiplex families and two cohorts: one recruited through a proband with anorexia nervosa (AN; AN cohort); the other recruited through a proband with bulimia nervosa (BN; BN cohort). By a multilayer decision process based on expert evaluation and statistical analysis, six traits were selected for linkage analysis (1): obsessionality (OBS), age at menarche (MENAR) and anxiety (ANX) for quantitative trait locus (QTL) linkage analysis; and lifetime minimum Body Mass Index (BMI), concern over mistakes (CM) and food-related obsessions (OBF) for covariate-based linkage analysis. The BN cohort produced the largest linkage signals: for QTL linkage analysis, four suggestive signals: (for MENAR, at 10p13; for ANX, at 1q31.1, 4q35.2, and 8q13.1); for covariate-based linkage analyses, both significant and suggestive linkages (for BMI, one significant [4q21.1] and three suggestive [3p23, 10p13, 5p15.3]; for CM, two significant [16p13.3, 14q21.1] and three suggestive [4p15.33, 8q11.23, 10p11.21]; and for OBF, one significant [14q21.1] and five suggestive [4p16.1, 10p13.1, 8q11.23, 16p13.3, 18p11.31]). Results from the AN cohort were far less compelling: for QTL linkage analysis, two suggestive signals (for OBS at 6q21 and for ANX at 9p21.3); for covariate-based linkage analysis, five suggestive signals (for BMI at 4q13.1, for CM at 11p11.2 and 17q25.1, and for OBF at 17q25.1 and 15q26.2). Overlap between the two cohorts was minimal for substantial linkage signals.
doi:10.1002/ajmg.b.30226
PMCID: PMC2590774  PMID: 16152574
Complex disease; endophenotype; liability; mixture model; regression
2.  Anorexia nervosa trios: behavioral profiles of individuals with anorexianervosa and their parents 
Psychological medicine  2008;39(3):451-461.
Background
Anorexia nervosa (AN) is associated with behavioral traits that predate the onset of AN and persist after recovery. We identified patterns of behavioral traits in AN trios (proband plus two biological parents).
Method
A total of 433 complete trios were collected in the Price Foundation Genetic Study of AN using standardized instruments for eating disorder (ED) symptoms, anxiety, perfectionism, and temperament. We used latent profile analysis and ANOVA to identify and validate patterns of behavioral traits.
Results
We distinguished three classes with medium to large effect sizes by mothers’ and probands’ drive for thinness, body dissatisfaction, perfectionism, neuroticism, trait anxiety, and harm avoidance. Fathers did not differ significantly across classes. Classes were distinguished by degree of symptomatology rather than qualitative differences. Class 1 (~33 %) comprised low symptom probands and mothers with scores in the healthy range. Class 2 (~43 %) included probands with marked elevations in drive for thinness, body dissatisfaction, neuroticism, trait anxiety, and harm avoidance and mothers with mild anxious/perfectionistic traits. Class 3 (~24 %) included probands and mothers with elevations on ED and anxious/perfectionistic traits. Mother–daughter symptom severity was related in classes 1 and 3 only. Trio profiles did not differ significantly by proband clinical status or subtype.
Conclusions
A key finding is the importance of mother and daughter traits in the identification of temperament and personality patterns in families affected by AN. Mother–daughter pairs with severe ED and anxious/perfectionistic traits may represent a more homogeneous and familial variant of AN that could be of value in genetic studies.
doi:10.1017/S0033291708003826
PMCID: PMC3714180  PMID: 18578898
Anorexia nervosa; eating disorder; genetics; temperament
3.  Selection of eating-disorder phenotypes for linkage analysis 
Vulnerability to anorexia nervosa (AN) and bulimia nervosa (BN) arise from the interplay of genetic and environmental factors. To explore the genetic contribution, we measured over 100 psychiatric, personality and temperament phenotypes of individuals with eating disorders from 154 multiplex families accessed through an AN proband (AN cohort) and 244 multiplex families accessed through a BN proband (BN cohort). To select a parsimonious subset of these attributes for linkage analysis, we subjected the variables to a multilayer decision process based on expert evaluation and statistical analysis. Criteria for trait choice included relevance to eating disorders pathology, published evidence for heritability, and results from our data. Based on these criteria, we chose six traits to analyze for linkage. Obsessionality, Age-at-Menarche, and a composite Anxiety measure displayed features of heritable quantitative traits, such as normal distribution and familial correlation, and thus appeared ideal for quantitative trait locus (QTL) linkage analysis. By contrast, some families showed highly concordant and extreme values for three variables — lifetime minimum Body Mass Index (lowest BMI attained during the course of illness), concern over mistakes, and food-related obsessions — whereas others did not. These distributions are consistent with a mixture of populations, and thus the variables were matched with covariate linkage analysis. Linkage results appear in a subsequent report. Our report lays out a systematic roadmap for utilizing a rich set of phenotypes for genetic analyses, including the selection of linkage methods paired to those phenotypes.
doi:10.1002/ajmg.b.30227
PMCID: PMC2560991  PMID: 16152575
Complex disease; endophenotype; liability; clinical judgment; covariate selection; mixture model; regression
4.  Heightened Fear of Uncertainty in Anorexia and Bulimia Nervosa 
Objective
To test whether intolerance of uncertainty (IU) is related to eating disorder (ED) pathology.
Method
Thirty individuals with anorexia nervosa (AN), 19 with bulimia nervosa (BN) and 28 healthy control women (CW) completed the Intolerance of Uncertainty Scale (IUS).
Results
AN and BN groups showed higher IU compared to CW. In AN and BN, Harm Avoidance and Depression scores were positively correlated with IU. In AN but not BN, IU was related positively to Drive for Thinness and Body Dissatisfaction.
Conclusion
Elevated IU is associated with AN and BN. Anxious traits may be inherent in EDs and IU could be a developmental factor contributing to anxiety, mood and ED behavior in AN and BN.
doi:10.1002/eat.20929
PMCID: PMC3140557  PMID: 21495057
5.  Specific common variants of the obesity-associated FTO gene are not associated with psychological and behavioral eating disorder phenotypes 
Extensive population-based genome-wide association studies have identified an association between the FTO gene and BMI; however, the mechanism of action is still unknown. To determine whether FTO may influence weight regulation through psychological and behavioral factors, seven single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) of the FTO gene were genotyped in 1085 individuals with anorexia nervosa (AN) and 677 healthy weight controls from the international Price Foundation Genetic Studies of Eating Disorders. Each SNP was tested in association with eating disorder phenotypes and measures that have previously been associated with eating behavior pathology: trait anxiety, harm-avoidance, novelty seeking, impulsivity, obsessionality, compulsivity, and concern over mistakes. After appropriate correction for multiple comparisons, no significant associations between individual FTO gene SNPs and eating disorder phenotypes or related eating behavior pathology were identified in cases or controls. Thus, this study found no evidence that FTO gene variants associated with weight regulation in the general population are associated with eating disorder phenotypes in AN participants or matched controls.
doi:10.1002/ajmg.b.31182
PMCID: PMC3249222  PMID: 21438147
6.  Association Study of 182 Candidate Genes in Anorexia Nervosa 
We performed association studies with 5,151 SNPs that were judged as likely candidate genetic variations conferring susceptibility to anorexia nervosa (AN) based on location under reported linkage peaks, previous results in the literature (182 candidate genes), brain expression, biological plausibility, and estrogen responsivity. We employed a case–control design that tested each SNP individually as well as haplotypes derived from these SNPs in 1,085 case individuals with AN diagnoses and 677 control individuals. We also performed separate association analyses using three increasingly restrictive case definitions for AN: all individuals with any subtype of AN (All AN: n = 1,085); individuals with AN with no binge eating behavior (AN with No Binge Eating: n = 687); and individuals with the restricting subtype of AN (Restricting AN: n = 421). After accounting for multiple comparisons, there were no statistically significant associations for any individual SNP or haplotype block with any definition of illness. These results underscore the importance of large samples to yield appropriate power to detect genotypic differences in individuals with AN and also motivate complementary approaches involving Genome-Wide Association (GWA) studies, Copy Number Variation (CNV) analyses, sequencing-based rare variant discovery assays, and pathway-based analysis in order to make up for deficiencies in traditional candidate gene approaches to AN.
doi:10.1002/ajmg.b.31082
PMCID: PMC2963154  PMID: 20468064
single nucleotide polymorphisms; probands; anorexia nervosa; bulimia nervosa
7.  Cardiac abnormalities in young women with anorexia nervosa. 
British Heart Journal  1994;71(3):287-292.
OBJECTIVE--To identify the characteristics of cardiac involvement in the self-induced starvation phase of anorexia nervosa. METHODS--Doppler echocardiographic indices of left ventricular geometry, function, and filling were examined in 21 white women (mean (SD) 22 (5) years) with anorexia nervosa according to the DSMIII (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders) criteria, 19 women (23 (2) years) of normal weight, and 22 constitutionally thin women (21 (4) years) with body mass index < 20. RESULTS--13 patients (62%) had abnormalities of mitral valve motion compared with one normal weight woman and two thin women (p < 0.001) v both control groups). Left ventricular chamber dimension and mass were significantly less in women with anorexia nervosa than in either the women of normal weight or the thin women, even after standardisation for body size or after controlling for blood pressure. There were no substantial changes in left ventricular shape. Midwall shortening as a percentage of the values predicted from end systolic stress was significantly lower in the starving patients than in women of normal weight: when endocardial shortening was used as the index this difference was overestimated. The cardiac index was also significantly reduced in anorexia nervosa because of a low stroke index and heart rate. The total peripheral resistance was significantly higher in starving patients than in both control groups. The left atrial dimension was significantly smaller in anorexia than in the women of normal weight and the thin women, independently of body size. The transmitral flow velocity E/A ratio was significantly higher in anorexia than in both the control groups because of the reduction of peak velocity A. When data from all three groups were pooled the flow velocity E/A ratio was inversely related to left atrial dimension (r = -0.43, p < 0.0001) and cardiac output (r = -0.64, p < 0.0001) independently of body size. CONCLUSIONS--Anorexia nervosa caused demonstrable abnormalities of mitral valve motion and reduced left ventricular mass and filling associated with systolic dysfunction.
PMCID: PMC483668  PMID: 8142200
8.  Childhood Anxiety Associated with Low BMI in Women with Anorexia Nervosa 
Behaviour research and therapy  2009;48(1):60-67.
Objective
Extremely low body mass index (BMI) values are associated with increased risk for death and poor long-term prognosis in individuals with AN. The present study explores childhood personality characteristics that could be associated with the ability to attain an extremely low BMI.
Methods
Participants were 326 women from the Genetics of Anorexia Nervosa (GAN) Study who completed the Structured Interview for Anorexia Nervosa and Bulimic Syndromes and whose mother completed the Child Behavioral Check List and/or Revised Dimensions of Temperament Survey.
Results
Children who were described as having greater fear or anxiety by their mothers attained lower BMIs during AN (p <0.02). Path analysis in the GAN and a validation sample, Price Foundation Anorexia Nervosa Trios Study, confirmed the relation between early childhood anxiety, caloric restriction, qualitative food item restriction, excessive exercise, and low BMI. Path analysis also confirmed a relation between childhood anxiety and caloric restriction, which mediated the relation between childhood anxiety and low BMI in the GAN sample only.
Conclusion
Fearful or anxious behavior as a child was associated with the attainment of low BMI in AN and childhood anxiety was associated with caloric restriction. Measures of anxiety and factors associated with anxiety-proneness in childhood may index children at risk for restrictive behaviors and extremely low BMIs in AN.
doi:10.1016/j.brat.2009.09.009
PMCID: PMC2812624  PMID: 19822312
Anorexia Nervosa; Anxiety; Body Mass Index
9.  The clinical features of late onset anorexia nervosa. 
Postgraduate Medical Journal  1991;67(793):973-977.
This study examines clinical features of late onset anorexia nervosa. This involved the scrutiny of a large database of patients with anorexia nervosa comprising data gathered at standardized initial assessments over the period 1960-1990. Patients with a late onset were compared to other selected patient samples. The population comprised 12 patients with a first onset of anorexia nervosa at or after the age of 30, 415 patients with an onset after 15 but before 20 and 9 patients with an onset after 15 but before 20 and matched for age at presentation with the late onset group. Features studied included age at menarche, age at onset of anorexia nervosa, age at presentation, duration of illness, weight at presentation, lowest adult weight, highest weight, weight at onset of illness, marital status and parity. Patients with an onset of anorexia nervosa after the age 30 comprised 2% of the total female patient sample. Though such patients were rare, their clinical features were very similar to those of typical patients with adolescent onset. Notably, young and late onset patients had similar durations of illness prior to presentation, and similar proportions had bulimia and defensive vomiting. Feared sexuality, no longer necessary for childbearing, emerged as being of apparent aetiological significance in the late onset group, with the disorder embodying its rejection, as often also seems to be the case with earlier onset. The late onset cases were hard to diagnose and had a poor outcome. The study underlines the importance of considering the diagnosis of anorexia nervosa in older patients, even if there is no earlier history of anorexia nervosa. Such patients are likely to find it easier to conceal the psychological origins of their problem behind the possibility of a primary physical illness, or behind psychiatric diagnoses such as depression, the treatment of which may not threaten their avoidance of normal body weight.
PMCID: PMC2399152  PMID: 1775420
10.  Diagnostic Crossover in Anorexia Nervosa and Bulimia Nervosa: Implications for DSM-V 
The American journal of psychiatry  2008;165(2):245-250.
Objective
The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) is designed primarily as a clinical tool. Yet high rates of diagnostic “crossover” among the anorexia nervosa subtypes and bulimia nervosa may reflect problems with the validity of the current diagnostic schema, thereby limiting its clinical utility. This study was designed to examine diagnostic crossover longitudinally in anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa to inform the validity of the DSM-IV-TR eating disorders classification system.
Method
A total of 216 women with a diagnosis of anorexia nervosa or bulimia nervosa were followed for 7 years; weekly eating disorder symptom data collected using the Eating Disorder Longitudinal Interval Follow-Up Examination allowed for diagnoses to be made throughout the follow-up period.
Results
Over 7 years, the majority of women with anorexia nervosa experienced diagnostic crossover: more than half crossed between the restricting and binge eating/purging anorexia nervosa subtypes over time; one-third crossed over to bulimia nervosa but were likely to relapse into anorexia nervosa. Women with bulimia nervosa were unlikely to cross over to anorexia nervosa.
Conclusions
These findings support the longitudinal distinction of anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa but do not support the anorexia nervosa subtyping schema.
doi:10.1176/appi.ajp.2007.07060951
PMCID: PMC3684068  PMID: 18198267
11.  The Genetics of Anorexia Nervosa: Current Findings and Future Perspectives 
Anorexia nervosa is a perplexing illness with the highest mortality rate of any psychiatric disease. In this paper, we review the genetic research on anorexia nervosa (AN). Family studies have demonstrated that anorexia nervosa is familial, and twin studies have indicated that additive genetic factors contribute to the familial aggregation. Molecular genetic research, including genomewide linkage and case control association studies, have not been successful in identifying DNA variants that are unequivocally involved in the etiology of AN. We provide a critical appraisal of these studies and discuss methodological issues that may be implicated in conflicting results. Furthermore, we discuss issues relevant to genetic research such as the importance of phenotypic refinement, the use of endophenotypes, and the implications for nosology and genetic analysis. Finally, the future of genetic research for AN is discussed in terms of genomewide association studies (GWAS) and the need for establishing large samples.
PMCID: PMC2828778  PMID: 20191112
twin; linkage; molecular genetics; anorexia nervosa
12.  Anorexia nervosa 
Clinical Evidence  2009;2009:1011.
Introduction
Anorexia nervosa is characterised by a low body mass index (BMI), fear of gaining weight, denial of current low weight and its impact on health, and amenorrhoea. Estimated prevalence is highest in teenage girls, and up to 0.7% of this age group may be affected. While most people with anorexia nervosa recover completely or partially, about 5% die of the condition, and 20% develop a chronic eating disorder. Young women with anorexia nervosa are at increased risk of bone fractures later in life.
Methods and outcomes
We conducted a systematic review which aimed to answer the following clinical questions: What are the effects of treatments for anorexia nervosa? What are the effects of interventions to prevent or treat complications of anorexia nervosa? We searched: Medline, Embase, The Cochrane Library, and other important databases up to August 2007 (Clinical Evidence reviews are updated periodically, please check our website for the most up-to-date version of this review). We included harms alerts from relevant organisations such as the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the UK Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA).
Results
We found 40 systematic reviews, RCTs, or observational studies that met our inclusion criteria. We performed a GRADE evaluation of the quality of evidence for interventions.
Conclusions
In this systematic review we present information relating to the effectiveness and safety of the following interventions: anxiolytic drugs, cyproheptadine, inpatient/outpatient treatment setting, oestrogen treatment, psychotherapy, refeeding, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), and tricyclic antidepressants.
Key Points
Anorexia nervosa is characterised by a low BMI, fear of gaining weight, denial of current low weight and its impact on health, and amenorrhoea. Estimated prevalence is highest in teenage girls, and may affect up to 0.7% of this group.Anorexia nervosa is related to family, sociocultural, genetic, and other biological factors. Psychiatric and personality disorders such as depression, anxiety disorders, obsessive compulsive disorder, and perfectionism, are commonly found in people who have anorexia nervosa.Most people with anorexia nervosa recover completely or partially, but about 5% die from the condition and 20% develop a chronic eating disorder.Young women with anorexia nervosa are at increased risk of fractures later in life.
There is no strong research evidence that any treatments work well for anorexia nervosa. However, there is a gradual accumulation of evidence which suggests that early intervention is effective. Working with the family may also interrupt the development of a persistent form of the illness.
Evidence on the benefits of psychotherapy is unclear.
Refeeding is a necessary and effective component of treatment, but is not sufficient alone. Very limited evidence from a quasi-experimental study suggests that a lenient approach to refeeding is as effective and more acceptable compared with a more strict approach.Refeeding may be as effective in an outpatient setting as during hospital admission.Nasogastric feeding is rarely required and can lead to problems due to hypophosphataemia.Nutritional supplements, including zinc, have only limited evidence for their effectiveness, and additional evaluation of these measures are warranted.
Limited evidence from small RCTs has not shown significant weight gain from SSRIs or tricyclic antidepressants, some of which may cause serious adverse effects. Tricyclic antidepressants may cause drowsiness, dry mouth, blurred vision, and a prolonged QT interval in people who have anorexia nervosa. SSRIs have not been shown to be beneficial, but the evidence remains very limited; in the four RCTs we found, conclusions were limited due to small trial size and high withdrawal rates.
Anxiolytic drugs (mainly older generation antipsychotic drugs) may prolong the QT interval, increasing the risk of ventricular tachycardia, torsades de pointes, and sudden death. Atypical antipsychotics have been evaluated for their potential role in reducing agitation and anxiety related to refeeding, as well as for potentially increasing appetite. Weak observational evidence has suggested that they may decrease obsessiveness and agitation. However, we found no RCTs of sufficient quality on the effects of atypical antipsychotics, and further evidence from large, well-conducted RCTs is necessary to draw reliable conclusions. Some atypical antipsychotics do not appear to be associated with the same cardiac risks as older-generation antipsychotic drugs. However, further research needs to be done.
We found insufficient evidence assessing cyproheptadine for treating anorexia nervosa.
Oestrogen treatment has been hypothesized to reduce the negative effects on bone mineral density associated with anorexia nervosa. However, three small RCTs have failed to demonstrate significant changes in bone mineral density after treatment with oestrogen.
PMCID: PMC2907776  PMID: 19445758
13.  Anorexia nervosa 
Clinical Evidence  2011;2011:1011.
Introduction
Anorexia nervosa is characterised by a low body mass index (BMI), fear of gaining weight, denial of current low weight and its impact on health, and amenorrhoea. Estimated prevalence is highest in teenage girls, and up to 0.7% of this age group may be affected. While most people with anorexia nervosa recover completely or partially, about 5% die of the condition, and 20% develop a chronic eating disorder. Young women with anorexia nervosa are at increased risk of bone fractures later in life.
Methods and outcomes
We conducted a systematic review, and aimed to answer the following clinical questions: What are the effects of treatments in anorexia nervosa? What are the effects of interventions to prevent or treat complications of anorexia nervosa? We searched: Medline, Embase, The Cochrane Library, and other important databases up to April 2010 (Clinical Evidence reviews are updated periodically; please check our website for the most up-to-date version of this review). We included harms alerts from relevant organisations such as the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the UK Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA).
Results
We found 40 systematic reviews, RCTs, or observational studies that met our inclusion criteria. We performed a GRADE evaluation of the quality of evidence for interventions.
Conclusions
In this systematic review we present information relating to the effectiveness and safety of the following interventions: atypical antipsychotic drugs, benzodiazepines, cyproheptadine, inpatient/outpatient treatment setting, oestrogen treatment (HRT or oral contraceptives), older-generation antipsychotic drugs, psychotherapy, refeeding, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), and tricyclic antidepressants.
Key Points
Anorexia nervosa is characterised by a low body mass index (BMI), fear of gaining weight, denial of current low weight and its impact on health, and amenorrhoea. Estimated prevalence is highest in teenage girls, and the condition may affect up to 0.7% of this group.Anorexia nervosa is related to family, sociocultural, genetic, and other biological factors. Psychiatric and personality disorders such as depression, anxiety disorders, obsessive compulsive disorder, and perfectionism are commonly found in people who have anorexia nervosa.Most people with anorexia nervosa recover completely or partially, but about 5% die from the condition and 20% develop a chronic eating disorder.Young women with anorexia nervosa are at increased risk of fractures later in life.Population assessment indicates that risks to fertility may be overstated in those who reach a healthy BMI, but children born to mothers who have recovered from anorexia nervosa seem to have lower birth weights.
There is no strong RCT evidence that any treatments work well for anorexia nervosa. However, there is a gradual accumulation of evidence suggesting that early intervention is effective. Increasing evidence suggests that working with the family may also interrupt the development of a persistent form of the illness, when this work begins early in the disease.
Evidence on the benefits of psychotherapy is unclear.
Refeeding is a necessary and effective component of treatment, but is not sufficient alone. Very limited evidence from a quasi-experimental study suggests that a lenient approach to refeeding is as effective and more acceptable compared with a more strict approach.Refeeding may be as effective in an outpatient setting as during hospital admission.Nasogastric refeeding has been used to speed up weight gain in inpatient observational studies, although it is rarely studied in RCTs. Very limited RCT evidence suggests that adding nasogastric feeding to oral nutrition can increase weight gain and reduce relapse in the short term more than oral nutrition alone, but these gains are not maintained at 1 year post-discharge. Given ethical and medical concerns with tube feeding, this approach is encouraged with caution.Nutritional supplements, including zinc, have only limited evidence for their effectiveness, and additional evaluations of these measures are warranted.
We don't know whether inpatient or outpatient treatment is more effective in people with anorexia nervosa.
Limited evidence from small RCTs has not shown significant weight gain from SSRIs or tricyclic antidepressants, some of which may cause serious adverse effects. Tricyclic antidepressants may cause drowsiness, dry mouth, blurred vision, and a prolonged QT interval in people who have anorexia nervosa. SSRIs have not been shown to be beneficial, but the evidence remains very limited; in the 4 RCTs we found, conclusions were limited because of small trial size and high rates of withdrawal.
Older-generation antipsychotic drugs may prolong the QT interval, increasing the risk of ventricular tachycardia, torsades de pointes, and sudden death. Atypical antipsychotics have been evaluated for their potential role in reducing agitation and anxiety related to refeeding, as well as for potentially increasing appetite. Increasing observational data (case series) have suggested that they may decrease obsessiveness and agitation. However, further evidence from large, well-conducted RCTs is necessary to draw reliable conclusions. Newer atypical antipsychotics, in particular olanzapine, do not seem to be associated with the same cardiac risks as older-generation antipsychotic drugs, but the known association between olanzapine and weight gain may impact compliance in people with anorexia nervosa. However, further research needs to be done.
We found insufficient RCT evidence assessing benzodiazepines or cyproheptadine for treating anorexia nervosa.
Oestrogen treatment has been hypothesised to reduce the negative effects on bone mineral density associated with anorexia nervosa. However, three small RCTs have failed to demonstrate clinically relevant changes in bone mineral density after treatment with oestrogen either HRT or oral contraceptives), and these results are supported by 2-year longitudinal data, which found similar lack of improvement.
PMCID: PMC3275304  PMID: 21481284
14.  Food motivation circuitry hypoactivation related to hedonic and nonhedonic aspects of hunger and satiety in women with active anorexia nervosa and weight-restored women with anorexia nervosa 
Background
Previous studies have provided evidence of food motivation circuitry dysfunction in individuals with anorexia nervosa. However, methodological limitations present challenges to the development of a cohesive neurobiological model of anorexia nervosa. Our goal was to investigate the neural circuitry of appetite dysregulation across states of hunger and satiety in active and weight-restored phases of anorexia nervosa using robust methodology to advance our understanding of potential neural circuitry abnormalities related to hedonic and nonhedonic state and trait.
Methods
We scanned women with active anorexia nervosa, weight-restored women with anorexia nervosa and healthy-weight controls on a 3-T Siemens magnetic resonance scanner while they viewed images of high- and low-calorie foods and objects before (premeal) and after (postmeal) eating a 400 kcal meal.
Results
We enrolled 12 women with active disease, 10 weight-restored women with anorexia nervosa and 11 controls in our study. Compared with controls, both weight-restored women and those with active disease demonstrated hypoactivity premeal in the hypothalamus, amygdala and anterior insula in response to high-calorie foods (v. objects). Postmeal, hypoactivation in the anterior insula persisted in women with active disease. Percent signal change in the anterior insula was positively correlated with food stimuli ratings and hedonic and nonhedonic appetite ratings in controls, but not women with active disease.
Limitations
Our findings are limited by a relatively small sample size, which prevented the use of an analysis of variance model and exploration of interaction effects, although our substantial effect sizes of between-group differences suggest adequate power for our statistical analysis approach. Participants taking psychotropic medications were included.
Conclusion
Our data provide evidence of potential state and trait hypoactivations in food motivation regions involved in the assessment of food’s reward value and integration of these with interoceptive signalling of one’s internal state of well-being, with important relations between brain activity and homeostatic and hedonic aspects of appetite. Our findings give novel evidence of disruption in neurobiological circuits and stress the importance of examining both state and trait characteristics in the investigation of brain phenotypes in individuals with anorexia nervosa.
doi:10.1503/jpn.110156
PMCID: PMC3447131  PMID: 22498079
15.  Eating disorders: the current status of molecular genetic research 
Anorexia nervosa (AN) and bulimia nervosa (BN) are complex disorders characterized by disordered eating behavior where the patient’s attitude towards weight and shape, as well as their perception of body shape, are disturbed. Formal genetic studies on twins and families suggested a substantial genetic influence for AN and BN. Candidate gene studies have initially focused on the serotonergic and other central neurotransmitter systems and on genes involved in body weight regulation. Hardly any of the positive findings achieved in these studies were unequivocally confirmed or substantiated in meta-analyses. This might be due to too small sample sizes and thus low power and/or the genes underlying eating disorders have not yet been analyzed. However, some studies that also used subphenotypes (e.g., restricting type of AN) led to more specific results; however, confirmation is as yet mostly lacking. Systematic genome-wide linkage scans based on families with at least two individuals with an eating disorder (AN or BN) revealed initial linkage regions on chromosomes 1, 3 and 4 (AN) and 10p (BN). Analyses on candidate genes in the chromosome 1 linkage region led to the (as yet unconfirmed) identification of certain variants associated with AN. Genome-wide association studies are under way and will presumably help to identify genes and pathways involved in these eating disorders. The elucidation of the molecular mechanisms underlying eating disorders might improve therapeutic approaches.
doi:10.1007/s00787-009-0085-9
PMCID: PMC2839487  PMID: 20033240
5-HT2A receptor gene; Melanocortin 4 receptor gene; GWAS
16.  Endocrine Alterations Are the Main Determinants of Cardiac Remodelling in Restrictive Anorexia Nervosa 
ISRN Endocrinology  2011;2011:171460.
Objective. Anorexia nervosa is a condition of reduced hemodynamic load, characterized by varying degrees of cardiac remodelling, only in part related to reduced body mass; the mechanism for such variability, as well as its clinical significance, remains unknown. Aim of the study was to assess the possible influence of a great number of clinical, biochemical, and endocrine factors on cardiovascular parameters in restrictive anorexia nervosa. Method. Twenty-five female patients hospitalized for restrictive anorexia nervosa underwent extensive cardiovascular, clinical, and biochemical evaluation. Results. Height-adjusted and cardiac workload-matched left ventricular mass was significantly related to several endocrine parameters, blood pressure, and vasoreactivity. On multivariate analysis, IGF/GH ratio and systolic blood pressure were the only independent predictors of height-adjusted ventricular mass (adj-R2 = 0.585; P = 0.001); when matching for cardiac workload, left ventricular mass was independently predicted only by GH and FT3 levels. All effects were independent of patient's weight and BMI. Conclusions. Indices of endocrine impairment seem to be the most relevant determinants of left ventricular hypotrophy in anorectic patients, apparently independent of reduced hemodynamic load and BMI. In particular, IGF/GH ratio and FT3 seem to particularly affect left ventricular mass in this population.
doi:10.5402/2011/171460
PMCID: PMC3262625  PMID: 22363867
17.  A genome-wide association study of anorexia nervosa 
Boraska, Vesna | Franklin, Christopher S | Floyd, James AB | Thornton, Laura M | Huckins, Laura M | Southam, Lorraine | Rayner, N William | Tachmazidou, Ioanna | Klump, Kelly L | Treasure, Janet | Lewis, Cathryn M | Schmidt, Ulrike | Tozzi, Federica | Kiezebrink, Kirsty | Hebebrand, Johannes | Gorwood, Philip | Adan, Roger AH | Kas, Martien JH | Favaro, Angela | Santonastaso, Paolo | Fernández-Aranda, Fernando | Gratacos, Monica | Rybakowski, Filip | Dmitrzak-Weglarz, Monika | Kaprio, Jaakko | Keski-Rahkonen, Anna | Raevuori, Anu | Van Furth, Eric F | Slof-Op t Landt, Margarita CT | Hudson, James I | Reichborn-Kjennerud, Ted | Knudsen, Gun Peggy S | Monteleone, Palmiero | Kaplan, Allan S | Karwautz, Andreas | Hakonarson, Hakon | Berrettini, Wade H | Guo, Yiran | Li, Dong | Schork, Nicholas J. | Komaki, Gen | Ando, Tetsuya | Inoko, Hidetoshi | Esko, Tõnu | Fischer, Krista | Männik, Katrin | Metspalu, Andres | Baker, Jessica H | Cone, Roger D | Dackor, Jennifer | DeSocio, Janiece E | Hilliard, Christopher E | O’Toole, Julie K | Pantel, Jacques | Szatkiewicz, Jin P | Taico, Chrysecolla | Zerwas, Stephanie | Trace, Sara E | Davis, Oliver SP | Helder, Sietske | Bühren, Katharina | Burghardt, Roland | de Zwaan, Martina | Egberts, Karin | Ehrlich, Stefan | Herpertz-Dahlmann, Beate | Herzog, Wolfgang | Imgart, Hartmut | Scherag, André | Scherag, Susann | Zipfel, Stephan | Boni, Claudette | Ramoz, Nicolas | Versini, Audrey | Brandys, Marek K | Danner, Unna N | de Kovel, Carolien | Hendriks, Judith | Koeleman, Bobby PC | Ophoff, Roel A | Strengman, Eric | van Elburg, Annemarie A | Bruson, Alice | Clementi, Maurizio | Degortes, Daniela | Forzan, Monica | Tenconi, Elena | Docampo, Elisa | Escaramís, Geòrgia | Jiménez-Murcia, Susana | Lissowska, Jolanta | Rajewski, Andrzej | Szeszenia-Dabrowska, Neonila | Slopien, Agnieszka | Hauser, Joanna | Karhunen, Leila | Meulenbelt, Ingrid | Slagboom, P Eline | Tortorella, Alfonso | Maj, Mario | Dedoussis, George | Dikeos, Dimitris | Gonidakis, Fragiskos | Tziouvas, Konstantinos | Tsitsika, Artemis | Papezova, Hana | Slachtova, Lenka | Martaskova, Debora | Kennedy, James L. | Levitan, Robert D. | Yilmaz, Zeynep | Huemer, Julia | Koubek, Doris | Merl, Elisabeth | Wagner, Gudrun | Lichtenstein, Paul | Breen, Gerome | Cohen-Woods, Sarah | Farmer, Anne | McGuffin, Peter | Cichon, Sven | Giegling, Ina | Herms, Stefan | Rujescu, Dan | Schreiber, Stefan | Wichmann, H-Erich | Dina, Christian | Sladek, Rob | Gambaro, Giovanni | Soranzo, Nicole | Julia, Antonio | Marsal, Sara | Rabionet, Raquel | Gaborieau, Valerie | Dick, Danielle M | Palotie, Aarno | Ripatti, Samuli | Widén, Elisabeth | Andreassen, Ole A | Espeseth, Thomas | Lundervold, Astri | Reinvang, Ivar | Steen, Vidar M | Le Hellard, Stephanie | Mattingsdal, Morten | Ntalla, Ioanna | Bencko, Vladimir | Foretova, Lenka | Janout, Vladimir | Navratilova, Marie | Gallinger, Steven | Pinto, Dalila | Scherer, Stephen | Aschauer, Harald | Carlberg, Laura | Schosser, Alexandra | Alfredsson, Lars | Ding, Bo | Klareskog, Lars | Padyukov, Leonid | Finan, Chris | Kalsi, Gursharan | Roberts, Marion | Logan, Darren W | Peltonen, Leena | Ritchie, Graham RS | Barrett, Jeffrey C | Estivill, Xavier | Hinney, Anke | Sullivan, Patrick F | Collier, David A | Zeggini, Eleftheria | Bulik, Cynthia M
Molecular psychiatry  2010;16(9):10.1038/mp.2010.107.
Anorexia nervosa (AN) is a complex and heritable eating disorder characterized by dangerously low body weight. Neither candidate gene studies nor an initial genome wide association study (GWAS) have yielded significant and replicated results. We performed a GWAS in 2,907 cases with AN from 14 countries (15 sites) and 14,860 ancestrally matched controls as part of the Genetic Consortium for AN (GCAN) and the Wellcome Trust Case Control Consortium 3 (WTCCC3). Individual association analyses were conducted in each stratum and meta-analyzed across all 15 discovery datasets. Seventy-six (72 independent) SNPs were taken forward for in silico (two datasets) or de novo (13 datasets) replication genotyping in 2,677 independent AN cases and 8,629 European ancestry controls along with 458 AN cases and 421 controls from Japan. The final global meta-analysis across discovery and replication datasets comprised 5,551 AN cases and 21,080 controls. AN subtype analyses (1,606 AN restricting; 1,445 AN binge-purge) were performed. No findings reached genome-wide significance. Two intronic variants were suggestively associated: rs9839776 (P=3.01×10−7) in SOX2OT and rs17030795 (P=5.84×10−6) in PPP3CA. Two additional signals were specific to Europeans: rs1523921 (P=5.76×10−6) between CUL3 and FAM124B and rs1886797 (P=8.05×10−6) near SPATA13. Comparing discovery to replication results, 76% of the effects were in the same direction, an observation highly unlikely to be due to chance (P= 4×10−6), strongly suggesting that true findings exist but that our sample, the largest yet reported, was underpowered for their detection. The accrual of large genotyped AN case-control samples should be an immediate priority for the field.
doi:10.1038/mp.2010.107
PMCID: PMC3859494  PMID: 21079607
anorexia nervosa; eating disorders; GWAS; genome-wide association study; body mass index; metabolic
18.  Perception of transgenerational family relationships: Comparison of eating-disordered patients and their parents 
Background
Disturbances in various elements of transgenerational family functioning patterns are not uncommon in studies of eating disorders.
We examined the relationship between patients’ perception of autonomy and intimacy in their families of origin and that of their parents in their own families of origin.
Material/Methods
The sample consisted of 112 girls who had a diagnosis of an eating disoder and their parents; 54 of the girls were diagnosed with anorexia nervosa restrictive subtype, 22 as anorexia nervosa binge/purge subtype, and 36 were diagnosed with bulimia nervosa. We had 2 control groups: 1 group consisted of 36 girls diagnosed with a depressive episode, dysthymia, or adjustment disorder with depressed mood and the other group was 85 female students from schools in Cracow, Poland and their parents. We used the the Family of Origin Scale to assess perception of family relationships. Statistical analysis was performed with the Statistical Package for the Social Sciences (SPSS 20.0.PL; Chicago, IL, USA).
Results
There was a significant association between daughters’ and fathers’ perceptions of autonomy in their families of origin in all groups. There was no significant association between daughters’ and mothers’ perceptions in all groups. The strongest correlation was between the non-clinical sample of girls and their fathers and for the bulimic group.
Conclusions
We did not detect any link indicating the specificity of transgenerational transmission of autonomy and intimacy in eating disorders. The results point to the importance of the father figure in studies of family systems, including the context of family transmission.
doi:10.12659/MSM.889432
PMCID: PMC3867474  PMID: 24309425
anorexia nervosa; bulimia nervosa; family; autonomy; intimacy
19.  Androgens in Women with Anorexia Nervosa and Normal-Weight Women with Hypothalamic Amenorrhea 
Context
Anorexia nervosa and normal-weight hypothalamic amenorrhea are characterized by hypogonadism and hypercortisolemia. However, it is not known whether these endocrine abnormalities result in reductions in adrenal and/or ovarian androgens or androgen precursors in such women, nor is it known whether relative androgen deficiency contributes to abnormalities in bone density and body composition in this population.
Objective
Our objective was to determine whether endogenous androgen and dehydroepiandrosterone sulfate (DHEAS) levels: 1) are reduced in women with anorexia nervosa and normal-weight hypothalamic amenorrhea, 2) are reduced further by oral contraceptives in women with anorexia nervosa, and 3) are predictors of weight, body composition, or bone density in such women.
Design and Setting
We conducted a cross-sectional study at a general clinical research center.
Study Participants
A total of 217 women were studied: 137 women with anorexia nervosa not receiving oral contraceptives, 32 women with anorexia nervosa receiving oral contraceptives, 21 normal-weight women with hypothalamic amenorrhea, and 27 healthy eumenorrheic controls.
Main Outcome Measures
Testosterone, free testosterone, DHEAS, bone density, fat-free mass, and fat mass were assessed.
Results
Endogenous total and free testosterone, but not DHEAS, were lower in women with anorexia nervosa than in controls. More marked reductions in both free testosterone and DHEAS were observed in women with anorexia nervosa receiving oral contraceptives. In contrast, normal-weight women with hypothalamic amenorrhea had normal androgen and DHEAS levels. Lower free testosterone, total testosterone, and DHEAS levels predicted lower bone density at most skeletal sites measured, and free testosterone was positively associated with fat-free mass.
Conclusions
Androgen levels are low, appear to be even further reduced by oral contraceptive use, and are predictors of bone density and fat-free mass in women with anorexia nervosa. Interventional studies are needed to confirm these findings and determine whether oral contraceptive use, mediated by reductions in endogenous androgen levels, is deleterious to skeletal health in such women.
doi:10.1210/jc.2006-2501
PMCID: PMC3206093  PMID: 17284620
20.  Does Percent Body Fat Predict Outcome in Anorexia Nervosa? 
The American journal of psychiatry  2007;164(6):970-972.
Objective
The goal of this study was to investigate the relationship of body composition and neuroendocrine levels with clinical outcome in women with anorexia nervosa in a relapse-prevention trial.
Method
Body composition and fasting cortisol and leptin levels were assessed before random assignment in 32 weight-recovered subjects with anorexia nervosa from the New York site of the Fluoxetine to Prevent Relapse in Women With Anorexia Nervosa trial. Clinical outcome at the end of study participation was defined using modified Morgan-Russell criteria (full, good, fair, poor), then dichotomized into treatment “success” or “failure.”
Results
In a binary logistic regression model examining the effect of percent body fat, body mass index, anorexia nervosa subtype, waist-to-hip ratio, and serum cortisol and leptin levels on treatment outcome, only percent body fat was significantly associated with outcome.
Conclusions
In recently weight-restored women with anorexia nervosa, lower percent body fat was associated with poor long-term outcome.
doi:10.1176/appi.ajp.164.6.970
PMCID: PMC2741391  PMID: 17541059
21.  Rethinking Food Anticipatory Activity in the Activity-Based Anorexia Rat Model 
Scientific Reports  2014;4:3929.
When a rat is on a limited fixed-time food schedule with full access to a running wheel (activity-based anorexia model, ABA), its activity level will increase hours prior to the feeding period. This activity, called food-anticipatory activity (FAA), is a hypothesized parallel to the hyperactivity symptom in human anorexia nervosa. To investigate in depth the characteristics of FAA, we retrospectively analyzed the level of FAA and activities during other periods in ABA rats. To our surprise, rats with the most body weight loss have the lowest level of FAA, which contradicts the previously established link between FAA and the severity of ABA symptoms. On the contrary, our study shows that postprandial activities are more directly related to weight loss. We conclude that FAA alone may not be sufficient to reflect model severity, and activities during other periods may be of potential value in studies using ABA model.
doi:10.1038/srep03929
PMCID: PMC3905269  PMID: 24473370
22.  Reduced Amylin Levels Are Associated with Low Bone Mineral Density in Women with Anorexia Nervosa 
Bone  2009;46(3):796-800.
Context
Anorexia nervosa, characterized by extreme low body weight due to reduced nutrient intake, is associated with severe bone loss. Peptide hormones, including amylin, GIP, and GLP2, are released immediately after nutrient intake and may be involved in the regulation of bone turnover.
Objective
To investigate fasting levels of amylin, GIP, and GLP2 and their relationships with bone mineral density (BMD) in women with anorexia nervosa compared to healthy controls.
Design
Cross-sectional
Setting
Clinical Research Center
Study Participants
15 women with anorexia nervosa and 16 healthy controls
Intervention
None
Main Outcome Measures
Fasting serum amylin, GIP, and GLP2, and BMD
Results
Women with anorexia nervosa had significantly lower fasting serum amylin and GIP levels than healthy controls. Fasting serum GLP2 levels were not significantly different between groups. Fasting amylin levels were positively associated with BMD and Z-score at the PA spine, total hip, and femoral neck. Fasting amylin levels were also positively associated with weight and percent fat; after controlling for these variables, amylin was still a significant predictor of BMD and Z-score at the femoral neck and of Z-score at the total hip. In the anorexia nervosa group, there was a trend toward an inverse association between amylin and C-terminal telopeptide (CTX) levels (R = −0.47, p = 0.08). GIP and GLP2 levels did not predict BMD at any site.
Conclusion
Decreased secretion of amylin may be a mechanism through which reduced nutrient intake adversely affects BMD in anorexia nervosa.
doi:10.1016/j.bone.2009.11.014
PMCID: PMC2824019  PMID: 19931436
Amylin; GIP; GLP2; Anorexia nervosa; Bone mineral density
23.  Complement C3 serum levels in anorexia nervosa: a potential biomarker for the severity of disease? 
Background
Anorexia nervosa carries the highest mortality rate of any psychiatric disorder. Even the most critically ill anorexic patients may present with normal 'standard' laboratory values, underscoring the need for a new sensitive biomarker. The complement cascade, a major component of innate immunity, represents a driving force in the pathophysiology of multiple inflammatory disorders. The role of complement in anorexia nervosa remains poorly understood. The present study was designed to evaluate the role of complement C3 levels, the extent of complement activation and of complement hemolytic activity in serum, as potential new biomarkers for the severity of anorexia nervosa.
Patients and methods
This was a prospective cohort study on 14 patients with severe anorexia nervosa, as defined by a body mass index (BMI) <14 kg/m2. Serum samples were obtained in a biweekly manner until hospital discharge. A total of 17 healthy subjects with normal BMI values served as controls. The serum levels of complement C3, C3a, C5a, sC5b-9, and of the 50% hemolytic complement activity (CH50) were quantified and correlated with the BMIs of patients and control subjects.
Results
Serum C3 levels were significantly lower in patients with anorexia nervosa than in controls (median 3.7 (interquartile range (IQR) 2.5-4.9) vs 11.4 (IQR 8.9-13.7, P <0.001). In contrast, complement activation fragments and CH50 levels were not significantly different between the two groups. There was a strong correlation between index C3 levels and BMI (Spearman correlation coefficient = 0.71, P <0.001).
Conclusions
Complement C3 serum levels may represent a sensitive new biomarker for monitoring the severity of disease in anorexia nervosa. The finding from this preliminary pilot study will require further investigation in future prospective large-scale multicenter trials.
doi:10.1186/1744-859X-10-16
PMCID: PMC3110119  PMID: 21542928
24.  Decreased Nocturnal Oxytocin Levels in Anorexia Nervosa Are Associated with Low Bone Mineral Density and Fat Mass 
The Journal of clinical psychiatry  2011;72(11):1546-1551.
Objective
Anorexia nervosa is characterized by self-induced starvation and associated with severe bone and fat loss. Oxytocin is a peptide hormone involved in appetite and energy homeostasis. Recent data show that oxytocin has an anabolic effect on bone and stimulates osteoblast function. There is limited information about oxytocin levels or its relationship to decreased bone mineral density (BMD) in anorexia nervosa. Our objective was to investigate the relationship between oxytocin levels, BMD and body composition in women with anorexia nervosa.
Method
We studied 36 women, mean age 27.6±1.3 years: 17 with anorexia nervosa (AN) and 19 healthy controls (HC) in a cross-sectional study. Oxytocin levels were determined from pooled serum samples obtained every 20 minutes from 8pm to 8am. Fasting leptin levels were measured. BMD at the anterior-posterior (AP) and lateral spine and hip, and body composition were assessed by dual energy X-ray absorptiometry.
Results
Mean oxytocin levels (14.3±1.5 vs. 31.8±5.1 pg/mL, p=0.003), leptin levels (2.7±0.5 vs. 11.4±1.1 ng/mL, p<0.0001), BMD (AP spine: 0.83±0.02 vs. 1.04±0.03; lateral spine: 0.63±0.02 vs. 0.81±0.02; total hip: 0.79±0.03 vs. 0.97±0.03 g/cm2, <0.0001), and fat mass (8.8±0.6 vs. 19.7±0.9 kg, p<0.0001) were lower in AN vs. HC. Oxytocin levels were associated with BMD at the AP (r=0.40, p=0.02) and lateral (r=0.36, p=0.04) spine, fat mass (r=0.42, p=0.01), and leptin levels (r=0.55, p=0.001).
Conclusion
Overnight secretion of oxytocin in AN is decreased compared with healthy women. Low oxytocin levels are associated with decreased BMD and body fat and may contribute to anorexia nervosa-induced bone loss.
doi:10.4088/JCP.10m06617
PMCID: PMC3731046  PMID: 21903023
Anorexia Nervosa; Oxytocin; Bone; Fat; Leptin
25.  Weight gain and the sleeping electroencephalogram: study of 10 patients with anorexia nervosa. 
British Medical Journal  1975;4(5996):556-558.
The relation between reduced nutritional intake, with consequent weight loss, and sleep disturbance was studied by comparing certain sleep encephalogram patterns in a group of inpatients with anorexia nervosa before, during, and after a regimen of refeeding with a normal diet to a matched population mean weight. At low body weights patients had less sleep and more restlessness, especially in the last four hours of the night. During refeeding and weight gain slow-wave sleep initially increased and then tended to decrease during the final stage of restoration of weight back to matched population mean levels. With the overall weight gain, however, there was a significant increase in length of sleep and rapid eye movement sleep, the latter increasing especially during the later stages of weight gain. These results reaffirm that insomnia, and especially early morning waking, is associated with low body weight in anorexia nervosa, and their implications are discussed with particular reference to a hypothetical association between various anabolic profiles and the need for differing components of sleep.
PMCID: PMC1675923  PMID: 173448

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