Altered serotonin activity in anorexia nervosa after long-term weight restoration. Does elevated cerebrospinal fluid 5-hydroxyindoleacetic acid level correlate with rigid and obsessive behavior?

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1991 Jun;48(6):556-62. 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.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Controlled Clinical Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Anorexia Nervosa / cerebrospinal fluid
  • Anorexia Nervosa / physiopathology
  • Anorexia Nervosa / psychology*
  • Body Weight*
  • Dopamine / metabolism
  • Dopamine / physiology
  • Feeding Behavior / physiology
  • Female
  • Homovanillic Acid / cerebrospinal fluid
  • Humans
  • Hydroxyindoleacetic Acid / cerebrospinal fluid
  • Serotonin / metabolism*
  • Serotonin / physiology


  • Serotonin
  • Hydroxyindoleacetic Acid
  • Dopamine
  • Homovanillic Acid