, Volume 195, Issue 3, pp 315–324 | Cite as

Serotonin transporter binding after recovery from eating disorders

  • Ursula F. Bailer
  • Guido K. Frank
  • Shannan E. Henry
  • Julie C. Price
  • Carolyn C. Meltzer
  • Carl Becker
  • Scott K. Ziolko
  • Chester A. Mathis
  • Angela Wagner
  • Nicole C. Barbarich-Marsteller
  • Karen Putnam
  • Walter H. Kaye
Original Investigation



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.


Anorexia nervosa Bulimia nervosa Serotonin transporter Positron emission tomography Serotonin 5-HTTLPR 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ursula F. Bailer
    • 1
    • 3
  • Guido K. Frank
    • 1
    • 7
  • Shannan E. Henry
    • 1
  • Julie C. Price
    • 4
  • Carolyn C. Meltzer
    • 1
    • 4
    • 5
    • 6
  • Carl Becker
    • 4
  • Scott K. Ziolko
    • 4
  • Chester A. Mathis
    • 4
  • Angela Wagner
    • 8
    • 1
  • Nicole C. Barbarich-Marsteller
    • 9
  • Karen Putnam
    • 10
  • Walter H. Kaye
    • 1
    • 2
    • 6
  1. 1.Western Psychiatric Institute and ClinicUniversity of PittsburghPittsburghUSA
  2. 2.PsychiatryUniversity of California San DiegoLa JollaUSA
  3. 3.Department of Biological Psychiatry, University Hospital of PsychiatryMedical University of ViennaViennaAustria
  4. 4.Department of Radiology, Presbyterian University Hospital, School of MedicineUniversity of PittsburghPittsburghUSA
  5. 5.Departments of Radiology and NeurologyEmory School of MedicineAtlantaUSA
  6. 6.School of Medicine, University of PittsburghPittsburghUSA
  7. 7.Laboratory for Developmental Brain ResearchUniversity of Colorado at Denver and Health Sciences Center, The Children’s HospitalDenverUSA
  8. 8.Department of Child and Adolescent PsychiatryJ.W. Goethe University of Frankfurt/MainFrankfurt/MainGermany
  9. 9.New York State Psychiatric Institute, Department of Psychiatry, College of Physicians and SurgeonsColumbia University Medical CenterNew YorkUSA
  10. 10.Department of Environmental Health, Division of Epidemiology and BiostatisticsUniversity of Cincinnati School of MedicineCincinnatiUSA

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