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One size does not fit all. Genomics differentiates among binge-eating disorder, bulimia nervosa, and anorexia nervosa

By Christopher Huebel, Mohamed Abdulkadir, Moritz Herle, Ruth J.F. Loos, Gerome Breen, Cynthia Bulik, Nadia Micali

Posted 26 Mar 2020
medRxiv DOI: 10.1101/2020.03.24.20042648

ObjectiveGenome-wide association studies have identified multiple genomic regions associated with anorexia nervosa. Relatively few or no genome-wide studies of other eating disorders, such as bulimia nervosa and binge-eating disorder, have been performed, despite their substantial heritability. Exploratively, we aimed to identify traits that are genetically associated with binge-type eating disorders. MethodWe calculated genome-wide polygenic scores for 269 trait and disease outcomes using PRSice v2.2 and their association with anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, and binge-eating disorder in up to 640 cases and 17,050 controls from the UK Biobank. Significant associations were tested for replication in the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children (up to 217 cases and 3018 controls). ResultsIndividuals with binge-type eating disorders had higher polygenic scores than controls for other psychiatric disorders, including depression, schizophrenia, and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, and higher polygenic scores for body mass index. DiscussionOur findings replicate some of the known comorbidities of eating disorders on a genomic level and motivate a deeper investigation of shared and unique genomic factors across the three primary eating disorders.

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