Amphetamine Induced Dopamine Release Increases Anxiety in Individuals Recovered from Anorexia Nervosa†‡

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Genetic, pharmacologic, and physiological data suggest that individuals with anorexia nervosa (AN) have altered striatal dopamine (DA) function.


We used an amphetamine challenge and positron emission tomography [11C]raclopride paradigm to explore DA striatal transmission in 10 recovered (REC) AN compared with 9 control women (CW).


REC AN and CW were similar for baseline, postamphetamine [11C]raclopride binding potential (BPND) and change (Δ) in BPND for all regions. In CW, ventral striatum Δ BPND was associated with euphoria (r = −0.76; p = 0.03), which was not found for REC AN. Instead, REC AN showed a significant relationship between anxiety and Δ BPND in the precommissural dorsal caudate (r = −0.62, p = 0.05).


REC AN have a positive association between endogenous DA release and anxiety in the dorsal caudate. This finding could explain why food-related DA release produces anxiety in AN, whereas feeding is pleasurable in healthy participants. © 2011 by Wiley Periodicals, Inc. (Int J Eat Disord 2012)

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