Binge eating disorder and morbid obesity are associated with lowered mu-opioid receptor availability in the brain (2018)

Psychiatry Res Neuroimaging. 2018 Jun 30;276:41-45. doi: 10.1016/j.pscychresns.2018.03.006.

Joutsa J1, Karlsson HK2, Majuri J3, Nuutila P4, Helin S2, Kaasinen V5, Nummenmaa L6.


Both morbid obesity and binge eating disorder (BED) have previously been linked with aberrant brain opioid function. Behaviorally these two conditions are however different suggesting also differences in neurotransmitter function. Here we directly compared mu-opioid receptor (MOR) availability between morbidly obese and BED subjects. Seven BED and nineteen morbidly obese (non-BED) patients, and thirty matched control subjects underwent positron emission tomography (PET) with MOR-specific ligand [11C]carfentanil. Both subjects with morbid obesity and BED had widespread reduction in [11C]carfentanil binding compared to control subjects. However, there was no significant difference in brain MOR binding between subjects with morbid obesity and BED. Thus, our results indicate that there is common brain opioid abnormality in behaviorally different eating disorders involving obesity.

KEYWORDS: Addiction; Eating disorders; MOR; PET; [(11)C]carfentanil

PMID: 29655552

DOI: 10.1016/j.pscychresns.2018.03.006