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The 5-HTTLPR polymorphism and eating disorders: A meta-analysis




Eating disorders are influenced by both environmental factors and genes. The 5-HTTLPR polymorphism of serotonin transporter gene has been suggested as a good candidate. This meta-analysis was undertaken: (1) to investigate the association between 5-HTTLPR and eating disorders considered as a whole, including anorexia (AN), bulimia (BN), and binge eating disorder (BED); (2) to extend recently reported findings on the association between 5-HTTLPR and AN-BN.


PubMed, ISI, and PsycINFO databases were searched for studies published until October 2009. Fifteen studies have been included. Data were analyzed with the Cochrane Collaboration Review Manager Software. Quality of studies and publication bias were assessed.


An association between S allele and eating disorders, in particular AN, has been found.


To be carrier of the 5-HTTLPR S allele seem to represent a risk factor for eating disorders, especially for AN. However, considering the reported high between-study heterogeneity, future studies should focus on more homogeneous endophenotype. © 2010 by Wiley Periodicals, Inc. (Int J Eat Disord 2011; 44:191–199)