, Volume 195, Issue 3, pp 315-324
Date: 11 Aug 2007

Serotonin transporter binding after recovery from eating disorders

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Several lines of evidence suggest that altered serotonin (5-HT) function persists after recovery from anorexia nervosa (AN) and bulimia nervosa (BN).


We compared 11 subjects who recovered (>1 year normal weight, regular menstrual cycles, no bingeing or purging) from restricting-type AN (REC RAN), 7 who recovered from bulimia-type AN (REC BAN), 9 who recovered from BN (REC BN), and 10 healthy control women (CW).

Materials and methods

Positron emission tomography (PET) imaging with [11C]McN5652 was used to assess the 5-HT transporter (5-HTT). For [11C]McN5652, distribution volume (DV) values were determined using a two-compartment, three-parameter tracer kinetic model, and specific binding was assessed using the binding potential (BP, BP = DVregion of interest/DVcerebellum − 1).


After correction for multiple comparisons, the four groups showed significant (p < 0.05) differences for [11C]McN5652 BP values for the dorsal raphe and antero-ventral striatum (AVS). Post-hoc analysis revealed that REC RAN had significantly increased [11C]McN5652 BP compared to REC BAN in these regions.


Divergent 5-HTT activity in subtypes of eating disorder subjects may provide important insights as to why these groups have differences in affective regulation and impulse control.

Parts of the manuscript were presented at the 44th American College of Neuropsychopharmacology (ACNP) Annual Meeting, December 11–15, 2005, Waikoloa, Hawaii.