CSF oxytocin and vasopressin levels after recovery from bulimia nervosa and anorexia nervosa, bulimic subtype.
When ill, people with eating disorders have disturbances of the neuropeptides vasopressin and oxytocin.
To avoid the confounding effects of the ill state, we studied women who were recovered (more than 1 year, normal weight, and regular menstrual cycles, no bingeing or purging) from bulimia nervosa (rBN) or binge eating/purging-type anorexia nervosa (rAN-BN), and matched healthy control women.
Vasopressin was elevated in rAN-BN and showed a trend towards elevation in rBN. In rBN, elevated cerebrospinal fluid vasopressin may be related to having a lifetime history of major depression. In comparison, cerebrospinal fluid oxytocin was normal in recovered subjects, but elevated levels in some rBN might be related to birth control pill use.
These data confirm and extend the possibility that elevated cerebrospinal fluid vasopressin may be related to the pathophysiology of eating disorders, and/or a lifetime history of major depression.