Anorexia Nervosa Linked To Certain Genetic Variants - New Study

A recent study on Anorexia Nervosa conducted at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia reported that there is significant evidence of a link between certain genetic variants and the eating disorder, which affects an estimated 0.9 percent of women in America. Anorexia Nervosa is classified as a psychiatric disorder, and is reported to have the highest mortality rate amongst all of the known psychiatric disorders. The disorder predominantly affects women, with women being more than ten times more likely to suffer from the disorder than men.

Hakon Hakonarson, M.D., Ph.D., the Director of the Center for Applied Genomics at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia who led the study, issued the following comments regarding the findings of the study: “This is the first genome-wide association study on a large anorexia cohort, as well as the first study of copy number variations in the disorder. We confirmed results of previous studies of anorexia nervosa: SNPs in the gene OPRD1 and near the gene HTR1D confer risk for the disease. We did not detect other obvious candidate genes, but we did generate a list of other genes that we are analyzing in follow-up studies. Our study suggests that both common SNPs and rare CNVs contribute to the pathogenesis of anorexia nervosa. The gene variants we discovered are worthy of further analysis in independent cohorts. However, the relatively modest number of anorexia cases explained by these results we found suggests that many other candidate genes remain unknown. Future studies will require much larger sample sizes to detect additional gene variants involved in this complex disorder.”