Persistent thinness and anorexia nervosa differ on a genomic level

Christopher Hübel*, Mohamed Abdulkadir, Moritz Herle, Alish B Palmos, Ruth J F Loos, Gerome Breen, Nadia Micali, Cynthia M Bulik

*Corresponding author af dette arbejde

Publikation: Bidrag til tidsskrift/Konferencebidrag i tidsskrift /Bidrag til avisTidsskriftartikelForskningpeer review


Thinness and anorexia nervosa are both characterised by persistent low weight. Individuals with anorexia nervosa concurrently report distorted perceptions of their body and engage in weight-loss behaviours, whereas individuals with thinness often wish to gain weight. Both conditions are heritable and share genomics with BMI, but are not genetically correlated with each other. Based on their pattern of genetic associations with other traits, we explored differences between thinness and anorexia nervosa on a genomic level. In Part 1, using publicly available data, we compared genetic correlations of persistent thinness/anorexia nervosa with eleven psychiatric disorders. In Part 2, we identified individuals with adolescent persistent thinness in the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children (ALSPAC) by latent class growth analysis of measured BMI from 10 to 24 years (n = 6594) and evaluated associations with psychiatric and anthropometric polygenic scores. In Part 1, in contrast to the positive genetic correlations of anorexia nervosa with various psychiatric disorders, persistent thinness showed negative genetic correlations with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (rgAN = 0.08 vs. rgPT = -0.30), alcohol dependence (rgAN = 0.07 vs. rgPT = -0.44), major depressive disorder (rgAN = 0.27 vs. rgPT = -0.18) and post-traumatic stress disorder (rgAN = 0.26 vs. rgPT = -0.20). In Part 2, individuals with adolescent persistent thinness in the ALSPAC had lower borderline personality disorder polygenic scores (OR = 0.77; Q = 0.01). Overall, results suggest that genetic variants associated with thinness are negatively associated with psychiatric disorders and therefore thinness may be differentiable from anorexia nervosa on a genomic level.

TidsskriftEuropean Journal of Human Genetics
Sider (fra-til)117-124
Antal sider8
StatusUdgivet - jan. 2024


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