• gastrointestinal peptides;
  • anorexia nervosa;
  • obesity


Aim: It is commonly accepted that some neuropeptides play an important role in the control of appetite and hormonal secretion. Several gastrointestinal peptides may affect on central control of appetite via vagal and spinal nerves. The aim of this study was to evaluate the release of gastrointestinal peptides in anorexia nervosa and in obesity, because in these diseases the disturbances in the control of appetite and hormonal secretion were found. Material consisted of 30 women with anorexia nervosa aged 16–29 years (mean 22 years) and 23 women with obesity aged 19–33 years (mean 29 years) and 25 lean women of control group.

Methods: In women with anorexia nervosa as compared with control group we observed a significant increase of plasma vasoactive intestinal peptide (VIP) levels (p < 0.0 1) and a significant decrease of leptin (p < 0.001), β-endorphin (p >< 0.01), gastrin (p < 0.05), cholecystokinin (CCK; p < 0.05) and somatostatin (S-S; p < 0.01). In obese women we found a significant increase of neuropeptide Y (NPY; p < 0.001), leptin (p> < 0.01), galanin (p < 0.001), β-endorphin (p < 0.001), gastrin (p < 0.01), CCK (p < 0.001) and S-S (p < 0.01) and a significant decrease of VIP concentrations (p < 0.001) as compared with control group.

Conclusion: Our results indicate that the release of gastrointestinal peptides is disturbed in obesity and in anorexia nervosa. These findings suggests that dysfunction of brain–gut axis may be also an important factor in the abnormal control of appetite axcept of hypothalamic dysfunction.