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Altered Cerebrospinal Fluid Neuropeptide Y and Peptide YY Immunoreactivity in Anorexia and Bulimia Nervosa

Walter H. Kaye, MD; Wade Berrettini, MD; Harry Gwirtsman, MD; David T. George, MD
Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1990;47(6):548-556. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1990.01810180048008.
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• The related central nervous system peptides neuropeptide Y and peptide YY have been found to be among the most potent endogenous stimulants of feeding behavior. We measured these neuropeptides in cerebrospinal fluid to determine whether they contributed to the pathophysiologic characteristics of anorexia and bulimia nervosa. Cerebrospinal fluid neuropeptide Y concentrations were significantly elevated in underweight anorectic patients and in many of the anorectic patients studied at intervals after weight restoration. These levels normalized in long-term weight-restored anorectic patients who had a return of normal menstrual cycles. Increased neuropeptide Y activity may contribute to several characteristic disturbances in anorexia, including menstrual dysregulation. Cerebrospinal fluid peptide YY concentrations were significantly elevated in normal-weight bulimic patients abstinent from pathological eating behavior for a month compared with themselves when actively bingeing and vomiting or compared with healthy volunteers. Increased peptide YY activity may contribute to a drive to overfeed in normal-weight bulimic patients.

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