Send to

Choose Destination
Eur Neuropsychopharmacol. 2016 Apr;26(4):663-73. doi: 10.1016/j.euroneuro.2016.02.008. Epub 2016 Feb 20.

Contemporary views on the genetics of anorexia nervosa.

Author information

Department of Psychiatry, University of California, San Diego, 9500 Gilman Drive #0664, La Jolla, CA 92093-0664, USA. Electronic address:
Inpatient Eating Disorders Service, Toronto General Hospital, Canada; Department of Psychiatry, University of Toronto, Canada. Electronic address:


Anorexia nervosa (AN) is a serious mental illness characterized by severe dietary restriction that leads to high rates of morbidity, chronicity, and mortality. Unfortunately, effective treatment is lacking and few options are available. High rates of familial aggregation and significant heritability suggested that the complex etiology of AN is affected by both genetic and environmental factors. In this paper, we review studies that reported common and rare genetic variation that influence susceptibility of AN through candidate gene studies, genome-wide association studies, and sequencing-based studies. We also discuss gene expression, methylation, imaging genetics, and pharmacogenetics to demonstrate that these studies have collectively advanced our knowledge of how genetic variation contributes to AN susceptibility and clinical course. Lastly, we highlight the importance of gene by environment interactions (G×E) and share our enthusiasm for the use of nutritional genomic approaches to elucidate the interaction among nutrients, metabolic intermediates, and genetic variation in AN. A deeper understanding of how nutrition alters genome stability, how genetic variation influences uptake and metabolism of nutrients, and how response to food components affects disordered eating, will lead to personalized dietary interventions and effective nutraceutical and pharmacological treatments for AN.


Anorexia nervosa; Genetics; Nutrigenetics; Nutrigenomics; Review

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Elsevier Science Icon for PubMed Central
Loading ...
Support Center