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Int J Eat Disord. 2008 Jul;41(5):399-404. doi: 10.1002/eat.20516.

Association of 5-HTT gene polymorphism, platelet MAO activity, and drive for thinness in a population-based sample of adolescent girls.

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Department of Psychology, Estonian Centre of Behavioural and Health Sciences, University of Tartu, Estonia.



Several lines of evidence suggest that alterations in serotonergic activity contribute to the pathophysiology of abnormal eating behaviors. Since platelet monoamine oxidase (MAO) activity and the 5-HT transporter gene promoter polymorphism (5-HTTLPR) have been associated with eating disorders, the knowledge from a population-based sample may provide useful information which changes in 5-HT function observed in eating disorders represent trait vs. state effects.


The sample was based on both cohorts of the Estonian Children Personality, Behavior and Health Study (ECPBHS). The current study was conducted during the second follow-up where altogether 82% from the original sample was recruited. EDI-2 subscales--Drive for Thinness and Bulimia--were used to determine eating attitudes and behaviors. Platelet MAO activity was measured and the participants were genotyped for the 5-HTTLPR.


Allelic variation of 5-HTTLPR or platelet MAO activity were not independently associated with drive for thinness or binge eating, but girls homozygous for the 5-HTTLPR long allele and with high platelet MAO activity, both considered indicators of a higher capacity 5-HT system, exhibited higher scores of drive for thinness.


The results suggest that drive for thinness is the highest in girls with the presence of two markers of higher serotonergic capacity.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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