A team of international researchers, with participation of scientists from the Center of Biomedical Research in Network for Physiopathology of Obesity and Nutrition (CIBEROBN) belonging to the Eating Disorders Working Group of the Psychiatric Genomics Consortium, has identified eight genetic markers in almost 17,000 cases of anorexia nervosa, which has made possible a more precise analysis of the genetic architecture of the disorder. These researchers also reveal that the pathology has genetic correlations with other psychiatric disorders, such as obsessive-compulsive disorder and major depressive disorder, as well as physical activity, obesity and other metabolic features.

Fernando Fernández-Aranda and Susana Jiménez-Murcia, of the Biomedical Research Institute of Bellvitge (Idibell) and the group of Eating Disorders of  Bellvitge University Hospital ( HUB), are part of this far-reaching initiative in which more of 180 specialists collaborated from more than 154 research centers and institutions around the world. The analysis, the largest report on genome association conducted on this disease so far, has just been published in Nature Genetics.

Pangenomic association study

The researchers analyzed, through a genome-wide association study (GWAS), the genomes of 16,992 patients with anorexia nervosa and 55,525 individuals as a control group from the data collected by the Genetics Initiative of Anorexia Nervosa and the Working Group on Eating Disorders of the Genetic Psychiatry Consortium. In this way, Fernández-Aranda points out, “Metabolic dysregulation in patients with anorexia nervosa could be explained even after a therapeutic restoration, as well as the interrelation between extreme weight situations. So from this discovery, it will be necessary to assess the reconceptualization of the pathology as a metabolic-psychiatric disorder.”

The authors conclude that these findings provide additional evidence that anorexia nervosa is a polyhedral disease, in which variables associated with the underlying mental disorder and metabolic factors involved interact.

This study represents a  continuation of a consolidated line of the Spanish group,  which has investigated for more than ten years extreme weight situations (from anorexia nervosa to obesity), from a clinical, biological and cerebral point of view. The conceptualization of anorexia nervosa -from this point of view, and the analysis of extreme weight situations will provide clues to a better neurobiological understanding of these disorders and to increase the effectiveness of current treatments.


Source: Correo Farmacéutico