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J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2000 Dec;85(12):4511-4.

Decreased serum leptin in bulimia nervosa.

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Department of Psychiatry, Division of Endocrinology, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts 02215, USA.


The eating disorder bulimia nervosa has been associated with impaired satiety, decreased resting metabolic rate, and abnormal neuroendocrine regulation. Preclinical studies suggest that such alterations could be associated with impaired leptin function. Thus, the goal of this study was to assess whether leptin function is decreased in bulimia nervosa. Serum leptin levels measured in women with bulimia nervosa (n = 18) and in women who had maintained stable recovery from bulimia nervosa (n = 15) were compared with values in healthy female controls (n = 20). Subjects were studied during the follicular phase of their menstrual cycle after an overnight fast and bed rest. Baseline serum samples were analyzed for leptin concentration by RIA. Subject groups were matched for age and body weight. Analysis of covariance, adjusting for percent body fat, demonstrated abnormally low serum leptin levels in the bulimia nervosa group (P: = 0.02), with a trend toward an inverse correlation between frequency of binge episodes and serum leptin concentration (P: < 0.1). Additionally, the remitted patient group demonstrated abnormally low leptin values (P: = 0.01). These results are consistent with the hypothesis that decreased leptin function may be associated with alterations in eating patterns, metabolic rate, and neuroendocrine regulation in bulimia nervosa.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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