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The neuroendocrine responses and psychological effects of infusion of L-tryptophan in anorexia nervosa

  • G. M. Goodwin (a1), C. M. Shapiro (a1), J. Bennie (a1), H. Dick (a1), S. Carroll (a1) and G. Fink (a1)...

Synopsis

The secretion of prolactin and growth hormone (GH), together with subjective ratings of sedation and hunger, were determined in 13 in-patients with anorexia nervosa and 15 controls during the intravenous infusion of L-tryptophan (100 mg/kg). Prolactin responses were not different between groups but GH responses were markedly blunted in patients. In addition sedation responses in patients were attenuated compared with controls. Hunger ratings were reduced by the infusion in controls but were too variable to be interpreted in the patients. Plasma amino acid levels were also determined before and after infusion of L-tryptophan. Tryptophan levels were comparable in the two groups as were the levels of tyrosine, phenyl alanine, valine, leucine and iso-leucine. The results suggest that some aspects of 5-hydroxytryptamine function may be attenuated in anorexia nervosa. However, they undoubtedly contrast with the finding of enhanced hormonal responses in acute dieting and may be relevant to the interpretation of similar experiments in depressive illness.

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Corresponding author

1Address for correspondence: Dr G. M. Goodwin, MRC Brain Melabohsm Unit. University Department of Psychiatry, Royal Edinburgh Hospital, Morningside Park. Edinburgh EH 10 5HF.

References

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The neuroendocrine responses and psychological effects of infusion of L-tryptophan in anorexia nervosa

  • G. M. Goodwin (a1), C. M. Shapiro (a1), J. Bennie (a1), H. Dick (a1), S. Carroll (a1) and G. Fink (a1)...

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