Anorexia affects about 1 percent of teenage girls in the United States and in severe cases can be fatal. There is considerable debate as to the involvement of genetic factors in the predisposition to develop anorexia nervosa. It has been suggested that variants of the agouti-related protein (AGRP) — involved in controlling appetite — may be important in the development of anorexia nervosa in a subset of cases.

In the May Molecular Psychiatry Roger Adan and colleagues at the Utrecht University Medical Center, The Netherlands determined the sequence of the coding region of the human ARGP. A screen of the ARGP of 100 patients with anorexia nervosa revealed three single nucleotide polymorphisms and they further screened 45 additional patients and 244 controls for these polymorphisms.

The researchers found that two alleles were in complete linkage and were significantly enriched in 11% of anorexic patients, compared with only 4.5% of controls....

Interested in reading more?

Become a Member of

Receive full access to more than 35 years of archives, as well as TS Digest, digital editions of The Scientist, feature stories, and much more!
Already a member?