5-HT2A Receptors in Eating Disorders

  • Philip Gorwood
  • Laurence Lanfumey
  • Odile Viltart
  • Nicolas Ramoz
Part of the The Receptors book series (REC, volume 32)


Eating disorders consist in anorexia nervosa (lack of energy intake and/or excess of caloric consumption) bulimia nervosa (episodes of binge eating associated with compensatory behaviors, such as self-induced vomiting, misuse of laxative, diuretics, fasting or excessive exercise) and binge eating disorder (recurrent episodes of binge eating without compensatory behavior). The biological mechanisms of these eating disorders have been extensively studied, both in human and animal models, mainly focusing on neuropeptides regulating appetite and on neurotransmitters that may also be involved in mood, appetite and weight, but also impulsivity and rewarding aspects of behavior. Although early preclinical data described a clear role of 5-HT2A receptors in food regulation, the use of specific 5-HT2 ligands did not confirm these first data. Most of the ligands initially used acted actually through 5-HT2C receptors, and, at least at preclinical level, it is now clearly established that these 5-HT2C receptors are those which regulated food intake. The gene coding for 5-HT2A receptor was the very first gene associated with eating disorders, mainly in anorexia nervosa, raising the scientific interest in the serotonin pathway to explain their genetic vulnerability. The A allele of −1438G/A HTR2A polymorphism was reported as being associated to AN and BN, but with many discrepancies, the association being insufficiently strong to survive the performed meta-analyses. This does not mean that the 5-HT2A receptor is having no role in any eating disorder, but that its contribution, if any, might be too small to be detectable when many types of patients are being gathered.


Anorexia nervosa Bulimia nervosa Binge eating disorder Appetite Weight Food Genetics 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Philip Gorwood
    • 1
    • 2
  • Laurence Lanfumey
    • 2
  • Odile Viltart
    • 2
  • Nicolas Ramoz
    • 2
  1. 1.CMME (Hôpital Sainte-Anne) and Université Paris-DescartesParisFrance
  2. 2.Centre de Psychiatrie et Neurosciences (INSERM UMR894)ParisFrance

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