, 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.