Urinary MHPG in anorexia nervosa patients with and without a concomitant major depressive disorder

Joseph Biederman, David B. Herzog, Timothy M. Rivinus, Richard A. Ferber, Gordon P. Harper, Paul J. Orsulak, Jerold S. Harmatz, Joseph J. Schildkraut

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25 Scopus citations


Twenty-four hour urinary MHPG excretion was measured in a group of anorexia nervosa patients before and after five weeks of treatment and in matched normal control subjects. A sub-group of anorexia nervosa patients who met research diagnostic criteria (RDC) for a concomitant major depressive disorder (AN-RDC+) was found to have, both initially and after treatment, significantly lower mean urinary MHPG levels than the normal control subjects. In contrast, mean urinary MHPG levels in anorexia nervosa patients who did not meet criteria for major depressive disorder (AN-RDC+) were similar to values in normal controls. Utilising the median value of all urinary MHPG samples as the cut-off point, it was found that significantly more AN-RDC+ patients excreted low MHPG compared with AN-RDC-patients and normal control subjects. The manifestation of a major depressive disorder according to RDC was found to be more important than body size variables in predicting the variance of MHPG. It is suggested that urinary MHPG levels may be useful in discriminating between sub-types of anorexia nervosa patients.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)149-160
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Psychiatric Research
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1984
Externally publishedYes


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