Adiponectin in anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa

J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2004 Apr;89(4):1833-7. doi: 10.1210/jc.2003-031260.


To study the role of adiponectin, a novel adipocyte-specific secreted protein, on the pathophysiology of eating disorders, circulating levels of fasting adiponectin, leptin, insulin, and glucose were measured in 31 female patients with anorexia nervosa (AN) and in 11 with bulimia nervosa. Hormone levels were compared with 16 age-matched, normal body weight controls, six healthy constitutionally thin subjects, and nine obese subjects. Moreover, changes in levels were reevaluated after nutritional treatment and weight gain in 13 patients with AN. Serum adiponectin concentrations in AN and bulimia nervosa were significantly lower than those in normal-weight controls. These results were unexpected because the levels were high in constitutionally thin subjects and low in obese subjects, which provide a negative correlation with body mass index (BMI) and body fat mass. In contrast, serum leptin levels correlated very well with BMI and fat mass among all the patients and controls. The insulin resistance was significantly low in AN and high in obese subjects. The concentrations of adiponectin after weight recovery increased to the normal level despite a relatively small increase in BMI. These findings suggest that abnormal feeding behavior in the patients with eating disorders may reduce circulating adiponectin level, and weight recovery can restore it.

MeSH terms

  • Adiponectin
  • Adipose Tissue / pathology
  • Adult
  • Anorexia Nervosa / blood
  • Anorexia Nervosa / pathology
  • Anorexia Nervosa / physiopathology*
  • Anorexia Nervosa / therapy
  • Body Composition
  • Body Mass Index
  • Bulimia / blood
  • Bulimia / pathology
  • Bulimia / physiopathology*
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Insulin Resistance
  • Intercellular Signaling Peptides and Proteins*
  • Leptin / blood
  • Middle Aged
  • Nutrition Therapy
  • Obesity / blood
  • Obesity / pathology
  • Obesity / physiopathology
  • Osmolar Concentration
  • Proteins / metabolism*
  • Thinness / blood
  • Thinness / pathology
  • Thinness / physiopathology
  • Weight Gain


  • Adiponectin
  • Intercellular Signaling Peptides and Proteins
  • Leptin
  • Proteins