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Evidence for Three Genetic Loci Involved in Both Anorexia Nervosa Risk and Variation of Body Mass Index


Hinney, Anke; Kesselmeier, Miriam; Jall, Sigrid; Volckmar, Anna-Lena; Focker, Manuel; Antel, Jochen; Heid, Iris M.; Winkler, Thomas W.; Grant, Struan F. A.; & The Early Growth Genetics (EGG) Consortium, [, et al. (2017). Evidence for Three Genetic Loci Involved in Both Anorexia Nervosa Risk and Variation of Body Mass Index. Molecular Psychiatry, 22(2), 192-201. PMCID: PMC5114162


The maintenance of normal body weight is disrupted in patients with anorexia nervosa (AN) for prolonged periods of time. Prior to the onset of AN, premorbid body mass index (BMI) spans the entire range from underweight to obese. After recovery, patients have reduced rates of overweight and obesity. As such, loci involved in body weight regulation may also be relevant for AN and vice versa. Our primary analysis comprised a cross-trait analysis of the 1000 single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) with the lowest P-values in a genome-wide association meta-analysis (GWAMA) of AN (GCAN) for evidence of association in the largest published GWAMA for BMI (GIANT). Subsequently we performed sex-stratified analyses for these 1000 SNPs. Functional ex vivo studies on four genes ensued. Lastly, a look-up of GWAMA-derived BMI-related loci was performed in the AN GWAMA. We detected significant associations (P-values <5 x 10-5, Bonferroni-corrected P<0.05) for nine SNP alleles at three independent loci. Interestingly, all AN susceptibility alleles were consistently associated with increased BMI. None of the genes (chr. 10: CTBP2, chr. 19: CCNE1, chr. 2: CARF and NBEAL1; the latter is a region with high linkage disequilibrium) nearest to these SNPs has previously been associated with AN or obesity. Sex-stratified analyses revealed that the strongest BMI signal originated predominantly from females (chr. 10 rs1561589; Poverall: 2.47 x 10-06/Pfemales: 3.45 x 10-07/Pmales: 0.043). Functional ex vivo studies in mice revealed reduced hypothalamic expression of Ctbp2 and Nbeal1 after fasting. Hypothalamic expression of Ctbp2 was increased in diet-induced obese (DIO) mice as compared with age-matched lean controls. We observed no evidence for associations for the look-up of BMI-related loci in the AN GWAMA. A cross-trait analysis of AN and BMI loci revealed variants at three chromosomal loci with potential joint impact. The chromosome 10 locus is particularly promising given that the association with obesity was primarily driven by females. In addition, the detected altered hypothalamic expression patterns of Ctbp2 and Nbeal1 as a result of fasting and DIO implicate these genes in weight regulation.


Reference Type

Journal Article

Year Published


Journal Title

Molecular Psychiatry


Hinney, Anke
Kesselmeier, Miriam
Jall, Sigrid
Volckmar, Anna-Lena
Focker, Manuel
Antel, Jochen
Heid, Iris M.
Winkler, Thomas W.
Grant, Struan F. A.
The Early Growth Genetics (EGG) Consortium, [
Linda S. Adair, Member
Guo, Yiran
Bergen, Andrew W.
Kaye, Walter H.
Berrettini, Wade H.
Hakonarson, Hakon
Herpertz-Dahlmann, Beate
de Zwaan, Martina H.
Herzog, Wolfgang
Ehrlich, Stefan
Zipfel, Stephan
Egberts, Karin M.
Adan, Roger A. H.
Brandys, Marek K.
van Elburg, Annemarie A.
Boraska Perica, Vesna
Franklin, Christopher S.
Tschop, Matthias H.
Zeggini, Eleftheria
Bulik, Cynthia M.
Collier, David A.
Scherag, Andre
Muller, Timo D.
Hebebrand, Johannes