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Two genes found to influence anorexia nervosa


Genes found on region of Chromosome 1 may regulate behaviors including eating and anxiety

Anorexia nervosa is a serious and potentially lethal illness. It is characterized by the relentless pursuit of thinness, the obsessive fear of gaining weight and emaciation. It commonly begins during adolescence in girls and it runs in families. A number of traits, such as perfectionism, anxiety and obsessionality, contribute to a risk to develop anorexia.

The authors used a process called candidate gene association analysis to identify two genes from a region on the short arm chromosome 1, previously identified as likely to contain genes contributing to anorexia nervosa, that may contribute to the risk of developing anorexia nervosa. When the authors compared anorexia patients to control individuals, they found statistically significant association of sequence polymorphisms at these two genes to anorexia nervosa, with increasing risk to individuals carrying specific alleles for developing anorexia nervosa.

To perform the gene association analysis, the researchers focused on a region of the short arm of chromosome 1. Earlier studies by the same researchers found this region was likely to contain genes contributing to anorexia nervosa in families. The researchers used candidate gene analysis to investigate several genes in the chromosome 1 region, using both positional information and biological information about genes in this region to nominate three genes for detailed analysis. In the candidate gene association analysis, the researchers analyzed sequence polymorphisms in DNA samples from families with anorexia and other eating disorders and from individuals not affected with anorexia nervosa. Two genes in the chromosome 1 region, HTR1D, the gene that codes for the serotonin 1D receptor, and OPRD1, the gene that codes for the delta opioid receptor, demonstrated statistically significant association to anorexia nervosa.

ARTICLE: "Candidate genes for anorexia nervosa in the 1p33-36 linkage region: serotonin 1D and delta opioid receptors display significant association to anorexia nervosa"

AUTHORS: Andrew Bergen, Marianne Van Den Bree, Meredith Yeager, Robert Welch, Kelly Ganjei, Kashif Haque, Silviu-alin Bacanu, Wade Berrettini, Dorothy Grice, David Goldman, Cynthia Bulik, Kelly Klump, Manfred Fichter, Katherine Halmi, Allan Kaplan, Michael Strober, Janet Treasure, Blake Woodside, Walter Kaye

AFFILIATIONS: Biognosis U.S., Inc. (Dissolved). From the Price Foundation Collaborative Group: University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, 15213,USA, Center for Neurobiology and Behavior, Department of Psychiatry, University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, Philadelphia, 19104; USA, National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, Rockville, MD, USA; Virginia Institute for Psychiatric and Behavioral Genetics, Department of Psychiatry, Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, 23298, USA, Department of Psychology, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI 48824, Klinik Roseneck, Hospital for Behavioral Medicine, Munich, D-83209, Germany, New York Presbyterian Hospital-Westchester, Weill Medical College of Cornell University, White Plains, New York, 10605, USA, Department of Psychiatry, The Toronto Hospital, Toronto, M5S2C4 Canada, Neuropsychiatric Institute and Hospital, School of Medicine, University of California at Los Angeles, Los Angeles, 90024,USA, Institute of Psychiatry, Maudsley and Bethlehem Royal Hospital, London, England, SE58AF, UK, Eating Disorders Module, Western Psychiatric HTR1D and OPRD1 and Anorexia Nervosa Institute & Clinic, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, 15213,USA. Currently at: 12Core Genotyping Facility, Advanced Technology Center, National Cancer Institute, Gaithersburg, MD 20877, Division of Psychological Medicine, University of Wales College of Medicine, Heath Park, Cardiff CF14 4XN, United Kingdom, 14Core Genotyping Facility, Advanced Technology Center, National Cancer Institute/SAIC, Gaithersburg, MD 20877.

Funding for the study was provided by the Price Foundation, which has provided financial support for the research team for over a decade, described at

For more information on how to participate in genetic studies for eating disorders, please call 1-888-895-3886 or visit the Web site at

Citation source: Molecular Psychiatry 2003 Volume 8, number 4, pages 397-406.

Aimee Midei | EurekAlert!
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