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May 1988

Lymphocyte β-Adrenergic Receptor Modification in Bulimia

Author Affiliations

From the Sections on Clinical Pharmacology (Drs Buckholtz and Potter) and Biomedical Psychiatry (Drs George and Jimerson), Laboratory of Clinical Science, National Institute of Mental Health, Bethesda, Md; and the Department of Medicine, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston (Dr Davies).

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1988;45(5):479-482. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1988.01800290099012

• 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.