A Review of Neuropeptide and Neuroendocrine Dysregulation in Anorexia and Bulimia Nervosa

Author(s): Ursula F. Bailer, Walter H. Kaye

Journal Name: Current Drug Targets - CNS & Neurological Disorders
Continued as CNS & Neurological Disorders - Drug Targets

Volume 2 , Issue 1 , 2003


Neuropeptides play an important role in the regulation of feeding behavior and obesity. The mechanisms for controlling food intake involve a complicated interplay between peripheral systems (including gustatory stimulation, gastrointestinal peptide secretion, and vagal afferent nerve responses) and central nervous system (CNS) neuropeptides and / or monoamines. These neuronal systems include neuropeptides (CRH, opioids, neuropeptide-Y (NPY) and peptide YY (PYY), vasopressin and oxytocin, CCK, and leptin) and monamines (serotonin, dopamine, norepinephrine). In addition to regulating eating behavior, a number of CNS neuropeptides participate in the regulation of neuroendocrine pathways. Thus, clinical studies have evaluated the possibility that CNS neuropeptide alterations may contribute to dysregulated secretion of the gonadal hormones, cortisol, thyroid hormones and growth hormone in the eating disorders. Most of the neuroendocrine and neuropeptide alterations apparent during symptomatic episodes of AN and BN tend to normalize after recovery. This observation suggests that most of the disturbances are consequences rather than causes of malnutrition, weight loss and / or altered meal patterns. Still, an understanding of these neuropeptide disturbances may shed light on why many people with AN or BN cannot easily “reverse” their illness and even after weight gain and normalized eating patterns, many individuals who have recovered from AN or BN have physiological, behavioral and psychological symptoms that persist for extended periods of time.

Keywords: eating disorders, neuropeptides, neuroendocrinology, anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa

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Article Details

Year: 2003
Page: [53 - 59]
Pages: 7
DOI: 10.2174/1568007033338689

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