Serotonin function following remission from bulimia nervosa

Barbara E. Wolfe, Eran D. Metzger, Jeffrey M. Levine, Dianne M. Finkelstein, Thomas B. Cooper, David C. Jimerson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

38 Scopus citations


Abnormal serotonergic regulation in bulimia nervosa is thought to contribute to recurrent binge eating, depressed mood, and impulsivity. To follow-up on previous studies showing decreased neuroendocrine responses in symptomatic patients, this study assessed serotonin-mediated prolactin responses in individuals who had remitted from bulimia nervosa. Subjects included 21 women with a history of bulimia nervosa and 21 healthy female controls, as well as an additional comparison group of 19 women with current bulimia nervosa. Placebo-controlled neuroendocrine response studies utilized a single oral dose (60 mg) of the indirect serotonin agonist d,l- fenfluramine. For the bulimia nervosa remitted group, the fenfluramine- stimulated elevation in serum prolactin concentration was not significantly different from the response in healthy controls, but was significantly larger than the response in patients with current bulimia nervosa (p < .01). These findings suggest that diminished serotonergic neuroendocrine responsiveness in bulimia nervosa reflects a state-related abnormality. The results are discussed in relationship to recent reports indicating that some alterations in central nervous system serotonin regulation may persist in symptomatically recovered individuals. (C) 2000 American College of Neuropsychopharmacology.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)257-263
Number of pages7
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2000
Externally publishedYes


  • Bulimia nervosa
  • Eating disorders
  • Neuroendocrine
  • Serotonin


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