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June 1991

Altered Serotonin Activity in Anorexia Nervosa After Long-term Weight RestorationDoes Elevated Cerebrospinal Fluid 5-Hydroxyindoleacetic Acid Level Correlate With Rigid and Obsessive Behavior?

Author Affiliations

From the Laboratories of Psychology and Psychopathology (Dr Kaye) and Clinical Science (Dr Gwirtsman), National Institute of Mental Health, and the National Institute of Alcoholism and Alcohol Abuse, National Institute of Health (Dr George), Bethesda, Md; and the Department of Psychiatry, Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, Nashville, Tenn (Dr Ebert). Dr Kaye is now with Western Psychiatric Institute, Pittsburgh, Pa.

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1991;48(6):556-562. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1991.01810300068010

• To avoid the confounding influences of malnutrition or weight loss, we studied patients with anorexia nervosa at normal weight and stable dietary intake. Compared with 15 controls, 17 long-term weight-restored anorectic subjects had elevated concentrations of cerebrospinal fluid 5-hydroxyindoleacetic acid, the major serotonin metabolite, whereas levels of cerebrospinal fluid homovanillic acid, the major dopamine metabolite, were normal. Elevated levels of cerebrospinal fluid 5-hydroxyindoleacetic acid may indicate increased serotonin activity. Such activity could contribute to pathological feeding behavior. Most importantly, this study raises the question as to whether increased cerebrospinal fluid 5-hydroxyindoleacetic acid levels are associated with overly inhibited, anxious, or obsessive traits.