Gut bacteria protein linked to anorexia and bulimia | Science News

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Gut bacteria protein linked to anorexia and bulimia

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A protein made by gut bacteria may trigger a chain of interactions in the body that contribute to eating disorders such as anorexia and bulimia.

When the protein is produced, the body makes antibodies to bind to it, but the antibodies also attach to a hormone that controls fullness. In tests, mice given bacteria that produce the protein changed how much they ate compared with mice given bacteria that did not make the protein, a new study shows. Researchers also found that the antibodies to the protein were higher in patients with anorexia and bulimia.

The results, which appear October 7 in Translational Psychiatry, seem to be some of the earliest to link gut bacteria to eating disorders.

For more on the neuroscience of eating disorders, read SN's feature "The Anorexic Brain."

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