Purging behavior modulates the relationships of hormonal and behavioral parameters in women with eating disorders

Maria Del Mar Grasa, Laura Villarreal, Roser Granero, Ruth Vilà, Eva Penelo, Zaida Agüera, Susana Jiménez-Murcia, María Del Mar Romero, José M. Menchón, Xavier Remesar, Fernando Fernández-Aranda, Marià Alemany

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


© 2013 S. Karger AG, Basel. Background/Aims: There is ample consensus that there is a neurophysiological basis for eating disorders (ED). Traits of personality translate into behavioral traits, purging being a well-defined transversal example. The direct implication of steroid hormones on ED has seldom been studied, despite their effects on behavior. Methods: After psychological interview analysis, 57 ED female patients (31 purgative and 26 nonpurgative) and 17 female controls were studied. Metabolic parameters and analysis of androgen, estrogen and glucocorticoid hormones were determined in parallel to the psychopathological profile (EDI-2 and SCL-90-R) and anthropometric measurements. Results: Psychometric tests showed clear differences between ED and controls, but there were few hormonal-metabolic significant differences. In purgative ED there were repeated (significant) positive correlations with corticosteroid-binding globulin (CBG) and negative correlations with sex hormone-binding globulin (SHBG) versus eating and general psychopathology. In nonpurging ED there were positive correlations for deoxycortisol, free fatty acids and albumin and negative for aspartate aminotransferase and psychopathological traits. Conclusion: The data suggest that CBG/corticosteroids and sexual hormones/SHBG are involved in purging behavior and its psychopathology and severity scores. Correlations of selected psychometric data and the CBG/SHBG levels in purging may eventually result in clinical markers. This approach may provide additional clues for understanding the pathogenesis of ED.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)230-240
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2013


  • Androgens
  • Anorexia
  • Bulimia
  • Corticosteroid-binding globulin
  • Eating disorders
  • Estrogens
  • Glucocorticoids
  • Sex hormone-binding globulin


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