Objective: Several lines of evidence suggest that alterations in serotonergic activity contribute to the pathophysiology of abnormal eating behaviors. Since platelet monoamine oxidase (MAO) activity and the 5-HT transporter gene promoter polymorphism (5-HTTLPR) have been associated with eating disorders, the knowledge from a population-based sample may provide useful information which changes in 5-HT function observed in eating disorders represent trait vs. state effects.
Method: The sample was based on both cohorts of the Estonian Children Personality, Behavior and Health Study (ECPBHS). The current study was conducted during the second follow-up where altogether 82% from the original sample was recruited. EDI-2 subscales--Drive for Thinness and Bulimia--were used to determine eating attitudes and behaviors. Platelet MAO activity was measured and the participants were genotyped for the 5-HTTLPR.
Results: Allelic variation of 5-HTTLPR or platelet MAO activity were not independently associated with drive for thinness or binge eating, but girls homozygous for the 5-HTTLPR long allele and with high platelet MAO activity, both considered indicators of a higher capacity 5-HT system, exhibited higher scores of drive for thinness.
Conclusion: The results suggest that drive for thinness is the highest in girls with the presence of two markers of higher serotonergic capacity.
(c) 2008 by Wiley Periodicals, Inc.