Correlation of BDNF blood levels with interoceptive awareness and maturity fears in anorexia and bulimia nervosa patients

J. M. Mercader, F. Fernández-Aranda, Mònica Gratacòs, Zaida Aguera, Laura Forcano, Marta Ribasés, Cynthia Villarejo, Xavier P. Estivill

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

16 Citations (Scopus)


Association studies and rodent models suggest a major role for BDNF (brain-derived neurotrophic factor) in feeding regulation. Altered BDNF blood levels have been associated with eating disorders (ED) and their related psychopathological traits. Since the influence of BDNF on self-reported eating disorder inventory scores (EDI) has not been tested, we investigated the correlation of EDI scales with BDNF plasma levels. BDNF levels were measured by (ELISA), and the EDI questionnaire was administered in a total of 81 ED patients. The relationship between BDNF levels and EDI scores was calculated using a general linear model. After correcting for multiple testing, BDNF plasma levels negatively correlated with the EDI total score (R 2 = 0.26; p = 4.09 × 10-4), interoceptive awareness (R 2 = 0.26; p = 1.96 × 10-4), and maturity fears (R 2 = 0.13; p = 6.92 × 10-4). When subdividing according to the main diagnoses, interoceptive awareness presented significant correlations with BDNF blood levels in both the anorexia nervosa (R 2 = 0.33, p = 0.0026) and bulimia nervosa groups (R 2 = 0.10; p = 0.008). Our data suggest that BDNF levels may influence the severity of the ED by modulating the associated psychopathology, in particular through the impairment of interoceptive awareness.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)505-512
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Neural Transmission
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2010
Externally publishedYes



  • Anorexia nervosa
  • Body dissatisfaction
  • Brain-derived neurotrophic factor
  • Bulimia nervosa
  • Drive for thinness
  • Eating disorders
  • EDI
  • Interoceptive awareness
  • Maturity fears
  • Psychopathology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biological Psychiatry
  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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