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April 1978

Catecholamine Metabolism in Anorexia Nervosa

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Psychiatry, University of Iowa, Iowa City (Dr Halmi); the Illinois State Psychiatric Institute, Chicago (Drs Dekirmenjian, Davis, and Casper); the Department of Psychiatry, University of Chicago (Dr Davis); and the Psychopharmacology Research Branch, National Institute of Mental Health, Bethesda, Md (Dr Goldberg).

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1978;35(4):458-460. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1978.01770280068007

• Urinary catecholamine levels were measured in 25 anorexia nervosa patients at the time when they were acutely ill with secondary depressive symptoms and again after treatment and weight gain to see whether changes in weight, activity levels, and symptoms of depression occurring during treatment might be associated with changes in urinary 3-methoxy-4-hydroxyphenylglycol (MHPG) concentrations. The latter was significantly lower in the acutely ill anorectics than in the control group. An increase in urinary MHPG concentration after treatment was significantly correlated with a decrease in depressive symptomatology. The increase in urinary MHPG level during treatment did not correlate significantly with change in patient's activity level. There seems to be a relationship between MHPG and the symptom of depression in a group of patients who do not carry a primary diagnosis of depression.