December 15, 2002
Anorexia and Bulimia may be Auto-Immune Disorders

Anorexia and Bulimia Nervosa may be caused by an auto-immune disorder where antibodies attack the hypothalamus or pituitary.

Three-quarters of the anorexic and bulimic women studied by Serguei Fetissov of the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm carry blood antibodies targeted against appetite centres in the brain, he finds. Just 16% of those without eating disorders have such antibodies1.

Another article with additional details.

To test the theory, the investigators withdrew blood serum from 57 women between the ages of 17 and 42 who had anorexia, bulimia or both. Most of the women (74 percent) produced antibodies that, when applied to sections of rat brains and rat pituitary glands, selectively attached to cells that produce three specific neuropeptides: alpha-MSH, ACTH and LHRH.

This is a fascinating result. The targeting of adrenocorticotropic hormone suggests that stress may trigger the auto-immune response. But there may be a genetic predisposition for this inappropriate immune response. It brings up the question of just what other behavioral and endocrine disorders of currently unknown cause might be caused by auto-immune responses.

Share |      Randall Parker, 2002 December 15 02:17 PM  Biological Mind


Comments
Victoria Bekham said at December 23, 2014 1:53 AM:

Nervous disorder can occur due to several reasons. Anorexia and Bulimia Nervosa are nervous disorders and an auto immune disease in which the antibodies present in the body usually attack the pituitary gland. The disorder is caused due to the extreme stressful situations.
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