Bulimia nervosa and evidence for striatal dopamine dysregulation: A conceptual review

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Objective: This article reviews concepts and evidence, based in particular on the work of Bartley G. Hoebel and colleagues, which suggest that a better understanding of the role of striatal dopamine (DA) in the initiation and/or maintenance of bulimia nervosa (BN) may result in a clearer characterization of mechanisms underlying BN. Methods: Literature review, using PubMed search. Results: Several lines of evidence, including the work of Bartley G. Hoebel, implicate the importance of striatal DA in feeding behavior, as well as in the disordered eating behaviors relevant to BN. Preclinical models of 'BN-like' eating behaviors have been associated with changes in striatal DA and DA receptor measures. Emerging clinical research also suggests that striatal DA abnormalities exist in individuals with BN. Conclusion: Alterations in striatal DA may exist in patients with BN. While the precise relationship between these findings and the etiology and maintenance of bulimic symptomatology remains unclear, further investigation of brain DA systems is a fruitful avenue of future research in BN. (c) 2011 Elsevier Inc.

AuthorBroft, Allegra I.; Berner, Laura a.; Martinez, Diana & Walsh, B. Timothy
JournalPhysiology and Behavior

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