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Int J Eat Disord. 2015 Nov;48(7):814-25. doi: 10.1002/eat.22400. Epub 2015 Jul 14.

Overview of genetic research in anorexia nervosa: The past, the present and the future.

Author information

1
Department of Translational Neuroscience, Brain Center Rudolf Magnus, University Medical Center Utrecht, Utrecht, The Netherlands.
2
Utrecht Research Group for Eating Disorders, Utrecht, The Netherlands.
3
Department of Medical Genetics, University Medical Center Utrecht, Utrecht, The Netherlands.
4
Department Clinical and Health Psychology, Fac. of Social Sciences, University of Utrecht, Utrecht, The Netherlands.
5
Rintveld, Center for Eating Disorders, Altrecht Mental Health Institute, Zeist, The Netherlands.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Even though the evidence supporting the presence of a heritable component in the aetiology of anorexia nervosa (AN) is strong, the underlying genetic mechanisms remain poorly understood. The recent publication of a genome-wide association study (GWAS) of AN (Boraska, Mol Psychiatry, 2014) was an important step in genetic research in AN.

OBJECTIVE:

To briefly sum up strengths and weaknesses of candidate-gene and genome-wide approaches, to discuss the genome-wide association studies of AN and to make predictions about the genetic architecture of AN by comparing it to that of schizophrenia (since the diseases share some similarities and genetic research in schizophrenia is more advanced).

METHOD:

Descriptive literature review.

RESULTS:

Despite remarkable efforts, the gene-association studies in AN did not advance our knowledge as much as had been hoped, although some results still await replication.

DISCUSSION:

Continuous effort of participants, clinicians and researchers remains necessary to ensure that genetic research in AN follows a similarly successful path as in schizophrenia. Identification of genetic susceptibility loci provides a basis for follow-up studies.

KEYWORDS:

anorexia nervosa; candidate gene; genetic architecture; genetic overlap between disorders; genome-wide association; heritability

PMID:
26171770
DOI:
10.1002/eat.22400
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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