Salivary gland enlargement and elevated serum amylase in bulimia nervosa

Eran D. Metzger, Jeffrey M. Levine, Colin R. McArdle, Barbara E. Wolfe, David C. Jimerson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

32 Scopus citations


Background: Clinical reports have described salivary gland enlargement in bulimia nervosa, particularly in patients with elevated serum amylase concentration. The goal of the current study was to provide a controlled comparison of salivary gland size in patients with bulimia nervosa and healthy volunteers. Methods: Subjects included 17 women with bulimia nervosa and 21 healthy female control subjects. Dimensions of the parotid and submandibular salivary glands were estimated by ultrasonography. Blood samples for amylase measurement were obtained after overnight fast. Results: Parotid gland size was enlarged 36% in patients with bulimia nervosa in comparison to control subjects (p < .01). For the patient group, salivary gland size was significantly correlated with frequency of bulimic symptoms and with serum amylase concentration. Conclusions: These results provide new quantitative data demonstrating increased salivary gland size in bulimia nervosa. Further studies are needed to evaluate factors responsible for salivary gland enlargement and hyperamylasemia in this disorder.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1520-1522
Number of pages3
JournalBiological Psychiatry
Issue number11
StatePublished - 1 Jun 1999
Externally publishedYes


  • Amylases
  • Bulimia
  • Eating disorder
  • Parotid gland
  • Salivary glands
  • Ultrasonography


Dive into the research topics of 'Salivary gland enlargement and elevated serum amylase in bulimia nervosa'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this