OBJECTIVES: It has been reported that leptin and neuropeptide Y (NPY) play a role in the control of appetite and in the regulation of hormonal secretion.
METHODS: Plasma leptin, neuropeptide Y (NPY) and galanin concentrations were estimated in 13 women with bulimia nervosa (BN) 19 women with anorexia nervosa (AN) and in 19 healthy women of the control group (CG).
RESULTS: Plasma leptin concentration in BN was significantly higher than that in AN and it was lower as compared with the control group, despite the same BMI (body mass index) in both the groups. Plasma leptin level in AN was significantly lower as compared with the controls. Plasma galanin concentrations in AN and BN did not differ significantly from the control group. Plasma NPY concentration in AN was lower than that in the control group. However, plasma NPY level in BN was significantly higher as compared with AN and with the control group (CG). The observed increase of NPY in BN was independent of BMI because BMI in bulimia nervosa was normal.
CONCLUSIONS: The data may suggest that other factors than body weight changes may be involved in the modulation of leptin and NPY release in BN. The pathological behaviour of patients with bulimia nervosa may result from disturbed NPY release which is the strongest orexigenic factor.