The influence of oxytocin on eating behaviours and stress in women with bulimia nervosa and binge eating disorder.

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The current study aimed to test the influence of oxytocin on palatable food intake, 24-h caloric consumption, and stress in women with bulimia nervosa and binge eating disorder. We recruited 25 women with DSM-5 bulimia nervosa or binge eating disorder, and 27 weight-matched comparison women without history of an eating disorder. We employed a double-blind, placebo-controlled crossover design in which each participant attended the lab for two experimental sessions, receiving a divided dose of 64IU intranasal oxytocin in one session and equivalent volume of placebo nasal spray in the opposite session. The order of administration was pseudo-randomised across participants. We hypothesised that a divided dose of 64IU intranasal oxytocin administration would reduce subjective hunger, the immediate consumption of palatable food, 24-h calorie consumption, and the incidence of binge eating when compared to placebo. We also hypothesised that oxytocin administration would be associated with lower levels of stress and salivary cortisol, and that there would be an interaction with participant group such that oxytocin would reduce eating behaviour and stress to a greater degree in women with bulimia nervosa or binge eating disorder, compared to women without history of an eating disorder. We did not find a significant effect of oxytocin on any of the measurements of eating behaviour, subjective stress, or salivary cortisol. We recommend that future studies test the dose-response effect of oxytocin on eating behaviours and stress in human populations with eating disorders to further clarify the moderating factors for oxytocin's effect on eating.

AuthorLeslie, Monica; Leppanen, Jenni; Paloyelis, Yannis; Treasure, Janet
JournalMolecular and cellular endocrinology
Volume497
Year2019

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