Serotonin Function, Personality-Trait Variations, and Childhood Abuse in Women With Bulimia-Spectrum Eating Disorders
J Clin Psychiatry 2004;65(6):830-837
© Copyright 2017 Physicians Postgraduate Press, Inc.
Purchase This PDF for $40.00
If you are not a paid subscriber, you may purchase the PDF.
(You'll need the free Adobe Acrobat Reader.)
Receive immediate full-text access to JCP. You can subscribe to JCP online-only ($86) or print + online ($156 individual).
With your subscription, receive a free PDF collection of the NCDEU Festschrift articles. Hurry! This offer ends December 31, 2011.
If you are a paid subscriber to JCP and do not yet have a username and password, activate your subscription now.
As a paid subscriber who has activated your subscription, you have access to the HTML and PDF versions of this item.
Click here to login.
Did you forget your password?
Still can't log in? Contact the Circulation Department at 1-800-489-1001 x4 or send email
Background: Across populations,
findings associate impulsivity, behavioral disinhibition, or
hostility with reduced central serotonin (5-hydroxytryptamine:
5-HT) activity and increased likelihood of childhood abuse.
Inconsistently, findings associate compulsivity, behavioral
inhibition, or anxiousness with elevated 5-HT neurotransmission.
We explored relationships among measures of 5-HT system
functioning, behavioral inhibition/disinhibition, and childhood
abuse in women with bulimia-spectrum eating syndromes.
Method: In 73 bulimic (body mass index [kg/m2]
under 30, binge eating at least once weekly) and 50 normal-eater
control women, we obtained indices of platelet paroxetine binding
and 5-HT agonist (m-CPP)-stimulated neuroendocrine
responses. Cluster analysis was used to classify the bulimic
women according to 5-HT "profiles." Resulting groups
were then compared on symptom and trait measures.
Results: Measures of paroxetine-binding density
(Bmax) and affinity (Kd) contributed
significantly (p < .001 and p < .02, respectively) to a
classification of bulimic women into groups with "low
density/high affinity" (N = 52) or "high density/low
affinity" (N = 21) binding. The 5-HT based classification
did not predict eating-symptom severity. However, the "high
density" pattern was associated with increased perfectionism
and compulsivity, reduced risk of childhood sexual abuse, and (to
some extent) reduced probability of borderline personality
Discussion: In women with bulimic syndromes,
serotonergic factors, personality-trait variations, and
developmental typologies converge in principled fashion. Our
findings corroborate (with neurobiological evidence) the concept
of underregulated and overregulated subtypes within the bulimic