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Am J Clin Nutr. 1997 Jan;65(1):114-20.

Postprandial cholecystokinin release and gastric emptying in patients with bulimia nervosa.

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Department of Psychiatry, Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, New York, USA.


This study was designed to investigate the biological underpinnings of the observed deficit in satiety in patients with bulimia nervosa. Eight women with bulimia nervosa and 10 age- and weight-matched control subjects consumed three laboratory meals consisting of 200, 400, and 600 g of a radiolabeled liquid meal. For 1 h after each meal, blood samples were obtained at 10-min intervals for measurement of cholecystokinin concentration and gastric emptying was measured. Subjects also completed perceptual rating scales at 10-min intervals. Compared with control subjects, patients with bulimia nervosa showed a blunting of postprandial cholecystokinin release, particularly with larger meal sizes, as well as delayed gastric emptying. Increasing meal size was associated with increased desire to binge eat in patients but not in control subjects. These data lend support to a model in which increased gastric capacity, perhaps resulting from repeated binge eating, gives rise to delayed gastric emptying and blunted postprandial cholecystokinin release, leading to an impaired satiety response, which tends to perpetuate the illness.

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