Send to

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
BMC Psychiatry. 2007 May 21;7:19.

Serotonin transporter binding of [123I]ADAM in bulimic women, their healthy twin sisters, and healthy women: a SPET study.

Author information

  • 1Department of Clinical Physiology and Nuclear Medicine, HUSLAB/Helsinki University Central Hospital, Helsinki, Finland.



Bulimia Nervosa (BN) is believed to be caused by an interaction of genetic and environmental factors. Previous studies support the existence of a bulimia-related endophenotype as well as disturbances in serotonin (5-HT) transmission. We studied serotonin transporter (SERT) binding in BN, and to investigate the possibility of a SERT-related endophenotype for BN, did this in a sample of female twins. We hypothesized clearly reduced SERT binding in BN women as opposed to healthy women, and intermediate SERT binding in unaffected co-twins.


We studied 13 female twins with BN (9 with purging and 4 with non-purging BN) and 25 healthy women, including 6 healthy twin sisters of BN patients and 19 women from 10 healthy twin pairs. [123I]ADAM, a selective SERT radioligand for single photon emission tomography (SPET) imaging, was used to assess SERT availability in the midbrain and the thalamus.


No differences in SERT binding were evident when comparing the BN women, their unaffected co-twins and the healthy controls (p = 0.14). The healthy sisters of the BN patients and the healthy control women had similar SERT binding in both brain regions. In a post hoc subgroup analysis, the purging bulimics had higher SERT binding than the healthy women in the midbrain (p = 0.03), but not in the thalamus.


Our finding of increased SERT binding in the midbrain in the purging BN women raises the possibility that this subgroup of bulimics might differ in serotonergic function from the non-purging ones. The similarity of the unaffected co-twins and the healthy controls doesn't support our initial assumption of a SERT-related endophenotype for BN. Due to the small sample size, our results need to be interpreted with caution and verified in a larger sample.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for BioMed Central Icon for PubMed Central
    Loading ...
    Write to the Help Desk