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Preliminary evidence for the role of HTR2A variants in binge eating in young women

Koren, Rachela; Duncan, Alexis E.b; Munn-Chernoff, Melissa A.c; Bucholz, Kathleen K.c; Lynskey, Michael T.c; Heath, Andrew C.c; Agrawal, Arpanac

doi: 10.1097/YPG.0000000000000014
Brief Reports

We examined the association between 15 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in HTR2A and characteristics of disordered eating, including weight/shape concerns, binge eating (with or without loss of control), and compensatory behaviors (purging and nonpurging). Whether a lifetime history of major depressive disorder (MDD) moderated or mediated this association was also investigated. A sample of 1533 twin women of White descent that were part of the Missouri Adolescent Female Twin Study was used. Data were collected using self-report responses to a semistructured interview. Logistic regression analyses were used to examine the association between weight/shape concerns, binge eating, and compensatory behaviors and SNPs (where carriers of the minor allele were coded as 1). Two SNPs, rs6561333 and rs2296972, showed a protective influence against binge eating, with rs2296972 being significant at a trend level after application of the false discovery rate. The SNP was not associated with MDD nor did MDD moderate its putative relation with binge eating. Pending replication, our analyses provide preliminary evidence for intronic SNPs in HTR2A and their association with binge eating. Given the well-documented role of serotonergic dysfunction in eating psychopathology, this report warrants considerable further study.

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aDepartment of Psychology

bGeorge Warren Brown School of Social Work, Washington University in St Louis

cDepartment of Psychiatry and Midwest Alcoholism Research Center, Washington University School of Medicine, St Louis, Missouri, USA

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Correspondence to Arpana Agrawal, PhD, Department of Psychiatry, Washington University School of Medicine, 660 S. Euclid, CB 8134, St Louis, MO 63110, USA Tel: +1 314 286 1778; fax: +1 314 286 2213; e-mail:

Received December 20, 2012

Accepted August 12, 2013

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