Neural Circuits, Neurotransmitters, and Behavior

Serotonin and Temperament in Bulimic Syndromes
  • Howard Steiger
  • Kenneth R. Bruce
  • Patricia Groleau
Part of the Current Topics in Behavioral Neurosciences book series (CTBN, volume 6)


In bulimia nervosa (BN), and in related binge–purge syndromes, factors affecting central serotonin (5-hydroxytryptamine, 5-HT) function appear to contribute not only to appetitive dysregulation but also to temperamental and personality manifestations. Drawing upon findings from neurobiological, molecular-genetic, and brain-imaging studies, we present an integrative model of the role of 5-HT function in bulimic syndromes. At the core of our model is a consideration of the ways in which diverse hereditary and environmental influences impact the action of the 5-HT system. We believe that our model helps account for heterogeneous traits seen in the bulimic population, for disproportionate representation of individuals displaying pathological personality traits and exposure to severe environmental stressors, and for interindividual variations as to treatment response.


Bulimia Genes Gene–environment interactions Personality traits Serotonin Temperament 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Howard Steiger
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
  • Kenneth R. Bruce
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
  • Patricia Groleau
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
  1. 1.Eating Disorders ProgramDouglas University InstituteMontreal (Verdun)Canada
  2. 2.Department of PsychiatryMcGill UniversityMontrealCanada
  3. 3.Department of PsychologyMcGill UniversityMontrealCanada

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