Purpose: Anorexia nervosa (AN) is a serious and complex mental disorder affecting mainly young adult women. AN patients are characterized by low body weight in combination with self-induced starvation, intense fear of gaining weight, and distortion of body image. AN is a multifactorial disease, linked by recent evidence to a dysregulation of the immune system. Methods: In this pilot study, 22 blood serums from AN patients were tested for the presence of autoantibodies against primate hypothalamic periventricular neurons by immunofluorescence and by a home-made ELISA assay. Cellular fluorescence suggests the presence of autoantibodies which are able to recognize these neurons (both to body cell and fiber levels). By means of ELISA, these autoantibodies are quantitatively evaluated. In addition, orexigenic and anorexigenic molecules were measured by ELISA. As control, 18 blood serums from healthy age matched woman were analysed. Results: All AN patients showed a reactivity against hypothalamic neurons both by immunofluorescence and ELISA. In addition, ghrelin, pro-opiomelanocortin (POMC), and agouti-related peptide (AGRP) were significantly higher than in control serums (p < 0.0001). In contrast, leptin was significantly lower in AN patients than controls (p < 0.0001). Conclusions: Immunoreaction and ELISA assays on AN blood serum suggest the presence of autoantibodies AN related. However, it is not easy to determine the action of these antibodies in vivo: they could interact with specific ligands expressed by hypothalamic cells preventing their physiological role, however, it is also possible that they could induce an aspecific stimulation in the target cells leading to an increased secretion of anorexigenic molecules. Further studies are needed to fully understand the involvement of the immune system in AN pathogenesis.

Anti-hypothalamus autoantibodies in anorexia nervosa: a possible new mechanism in neuro-physiological derangement?

Escelsior, Andrea;Amerio, Andrea;Amore, Mario;Saverino, Daniele
2022

Abstract

Purpose: Anorexia nervosa (AN) is a serious and complex mental disorder affecting mainly young adult women. AN patients are characterized by low body weight in combination with self-induced starvation, intense fear of gaining weight, and distortion of body image. AN is a multifactorial disease, linked by recent evidence to a dysregulation of the immune system. Methods: In this pilot study, 22 blood serums from AN patients were tested for the presence of autoantibodies against primate hypothalamic periventricular neurons by immunofluorescence and by a home-made ELISA assay. Cellular fluorescence suggests the presence of autoantibodies which are able to recognize these neurons (both to body cell and fiber levels). By means of ELISA, these autoantibodies are quantitatively evaluated. In addition, orexigenic and anorexigenic molecules were measured by ELISA. As control, 18 blood serums from healthy age matched woman were analysed. Results: All AN patients showed a reactivity against hypothalamic neurons both by immunofluorescence and ELISA. In addition, ghrelin, pro-opiomelanocortin (POMC), and agouti-related peptide (AGRP) were significantly higher than in control serums (p < 0.0001). In contrast, leptin was significantly lower in AN patients than controls (p < 0.0001). Conclusions: Immunoreaction and ELISA assays on AN blood serum suggest the presence of autoantibodies AN related. However, it is not easy to determine the action of these antibodies in vivo: they could interact with specific ligands expressed by hypothalamic cells preventing their physiological role, however, it is also possible that they could induce an aspecific stimulation in the target cells leading to an increased secretion of anorexigenic molecules. Further studies are needed to fully understand the involvement of the immune system in AN pathogenesis.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11567/1075896
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