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Lymphocyte β-Adrenergic Receptor Modification in Bulimia

Neil S. Buckholtz, PhD; David T. George, MD; Albert O. Davies, MD; David C. Jimerson, MD; William Z. Potter, MD, PhD
Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1988;45(5):479-482. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1988.01800290099012.
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• β-Adrenergic receptor binding on circulating lymphocytes was evaluated in young female bulimic patients (n =12) and age- and sex-matched normal control volunteers (n =10). Using iodine 125—labeled cyanopindolol, antagonist binding was evaluated (number of receptors [Bmax] and dissociation constant [KD]), and using isoproterenol competition of cyanopindolol binding, the concentration required to inhibit binding by 50% (IC50) for isoproterenol and the agonist affinity measure of KL/KH (ratio of dissociation constants for the low- and highaffinity states of the receptor) were determined. Plasma norepinephrine (NE) level was also measured. There was a trend toward lower plasma NE levels in the bulimic patients. The KL/KH ratio in bulimic patients was significantly greater than that for the normal volunteers, indicating increased receptor coupling. The KL/KH ratio was not significantly correlated with plasma NE level. Neither Bmax nor KD was different between the two groups. These findings suggest that β-adrenergic receptors in bulimic patients may be more responsive than in normal subjects, without alteration of the traditional measures of receptor responses, a difference that cannot be explained on the basis of plasma NE. These findings provide another line of evidence for altered regulation of the noradrenergic system in bulimic patients during a controlled phase of their illness.


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