The 5HTTLPR polymorphism, psychopathologic symptoms, and platelet [3H-] paroxetine binding in bulimic syndromes

Int J Eat Disord. 2005 Jan;37(1):57-60. doi: 10.1002/eat.20073.


Background: A short (s) allele in the promoter region of the 5-hydroxytryptamine (5-HT) transporter gene (5HTTLPR) has been associated with low transcription of the 5-HT transporter protein, and with clinical manifestations including impulsivity, affective disorder, and bulimia nervosa.

Methods: We studied implications of the 5HTTLPR s allele for eating symptoms, psychopathologic traits, and platelet [3H-] paroxetine binding in 59 women with bulimia spectrum syndromes.

Results: Compared with those without it, carriers of the s allele of 5HTTLPR showed significantly more affective instability, behavioral impulsivity, interpersonal insecurity, comorbid borderline personality disorder (BPD), and lower density (Bmax) of paroxetine-binding sites.

Conclusions: Our results suggest that proneness to impulsivity, affective dysregulation, and reduced central 5-HT reuptake may (in part) be codetermined by the 5HTTLPR polymorphism. However, given inconsistent 5HTTLPR expression in different populations, we speculate that we may be observing a phenotype (i.e., eating disorder)-dependent manifestation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Affect
  • Bulimia / genetics*
  • Bulimia / physiopathology*
  • Bulimia / psychology
  • Disruptive, Impulse Control, and Conduct Disorders / physiopathology
  • Disruptive, Impulse Control, and Conduct Disorders / psychology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Membrane Glycoproteins / biosynthesis*
  • Membrane Glycoproteins / genetics*
  • Membrane Glycoproteins / pharmacology
  • Membrane Transport Proteins / biosynthesis*
  • Membrane Transport Proteins / genetics*
  • Membrane Transport Proteins / pharmacology
  • Middle Aged
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins / biosynthesis*
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins / genetics*
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins / pharmacology
  • Paroxetine / metabolism*
  • Polymorphism, Genetic*
  • Serotonin Plasma Membrane Transport Proteins
  • Serotonin Uptake Inhibitors / metabolism*


  • Membrane Glycoproteins
  • Membrane Transport Proteins
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins
  • SLC6A4 protein, human
  • Serotonin Plasma Membrane Transport Proteins
  • Serotonin Uptake Inhibitors
  • Paroxetine