Longitudinal study on novel neuropeptides phoenixin, spexin and kisspeptin in adolescent inpatients with anorexia nervosa - association with psychiatric symptoms

Nutr Neurosci. 2021 Nov;24(11):896-906. doi: 10.1080/1028415X.2019.1692494. Epub 2019 Nov 18.


Objectives: It is hypothesized that novel neuropeptides such as phoenixin (PNX), spexin (SPX), and kisspeptin (KISS) are involved in the pathogenesis of eating disorders. The study presented here analyzed neuropeptide concentrations during the course of anorexia nervosa (AN) and aimed to correlate those values with anthropometric and psychometric measurements.

Methods: A longitudinal study was carried outin 30 AN adolescent patients and 15 age-matched healthy female controls. Selected neuroprotein serum levels were analyzed in malnourished patients (accAN) and following partial weight recovery (norAN), and these values were compared with the control group.

Results: In accAN patients, decreased serum PNX levels were detected while SPX serum concentrations were lower in the accAN and norAN patients. No differences were observed in KISS concentrations in all studied groups.

Conclusions: In malnourished adolescent inpatients with AN, serum PNX and SPX level were decreased. The partial weight recovery normalized PNX concentrations but failed to normalize SPX levels. Therefore these two neuropeptides might be crucial for the etiology and course of the AN. The KISS levels did not change in the course of AN. The PNX levels were associated with some symptoms of eating disorders which may indicate its potential contribution in the regulation of emotions and behaviors in AN.

Keywords: Anorexia nervosa; kisspeptin; phoenixin; spexin.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Anorexia Nervosa* / psychology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Inpatients
  • Kisspeptins / blood*
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Neuropeptides* / blood
  • Peptide Hormones / blood*


  • Kisspeptins
  • Neuropeptides
  • Peptide Hormones
  • SPX protein, human