Background: Patients with anorexia nervosa restricting type (AN-R) often develop bulimic symptoms and crossover to AN-binge eating/purging type (AN-BP), or to bulimia nervosa (BN). We have reported earlier that genetic variants of an orexigenic peptide ghrelin are associated with BN. Here, the relationship between a ghrelin gene variant and the rate of change from AN-R to other phenotypes of eating disorders (EDs) was investigated.
Methods: Participants were 165 patients with ED, initially diagnosed as AN-R. The dates of their AN-R onset and changes in diagnosis to other subtypes of ED were investigated retrospectively. Ghrelin gene 3056 T→C SNP (single nucleotide polymorphism) was genotyped. Probability and hazard ratios were analyzed using life table analysis and Cox's proportional hazard regression model, in which the starting point was the time of AN-R onset and the outcome events were the time of (i) onset of binge eating, that is, when patients changed to binge eating AN and BN and (ii) recovery of normal weight, that is, when patients changed to BN or remission.
Results: Patients with the TT genotype at 3056 T→C had a higher probability and hazard ratio for recovery of normal weight. The ghrelin SNP was not related with the onset of binge eating.
Conclusion: The 3056 T→C SNP of the ghrelin gene is related to the probability and the rate of recovery of normal body weight from restricting-type AN.