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5-HTTLPR polymorphism in bulimia nervosa: a multiple-model meta-analysis

Polsinelli, Gina N.; Levitan, Robert N.; De Luca, Vincenzo

doi: 10.1097/YPG.0b013e32835669b3
Review Article

Several lines of research have found that genes in the serotonergic system may cause susceptibility to eating disorders (EDs). In particular, functional polymorphisms of the serotonin transporter gene (5-HTT) have been suspected to play a role in the pathogenesis of eating disorders. Several studies have examined the association between the 5-HTTLPR polymorphism and bulimia nervosa (BN). The results of these investigations have been unclear. The aims of this meta-analysis were to clarify the association between BN and 5-HTTLPR using statistical models not used by previous meta-analyses, and extend upon previous meta-analyses by including new samples. PsychINFO, ISI, and PubMed databases were searched for studies published up to May 2011. Ultimately, six case–control samples were included. Data were pooled using dominant and additive models. Both models showed a nonsignificant association between the 5-HTTLPR polymorphism and BN. However, this does not detract from recent research suggesting that the 5-HTTLPR polymorphism may be responsible for the phenotypic variability in the psychopathological symptoms observed in patients with BN. Future research should examine the association of BN with 5-HTTLPR using the recently proposed triallelic model.

Department of Psychiatry, Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Correspondence to Vincenzo De Luca, MD, PhD, 250 College St, Toronto, ON, Canada M5T 1R8 Tel: +1 416 535 8501 x4421; fax: +1 416 979 4666; e-mail:

Received August 13, 2011

Accepted February 27, 2012

© 2012 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.