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Post-traumatic stress disorder may set the neurobiological stage for eating disorders: A focus on glutamatergic dysfunction.

Authors
  • Murray, Sidney L1
  • Holton, Kathleen F2
  • 1 Behavior, Cognition & Neuroscience Program, American University, Washington DC, USA.
  • 2 Department of Health Studies, American University, Washington DC, USA; Center for Neuroscience and Behavior, American University, Washington DC, USA. Electronic address: [email protected]
Type
Published Article
Journal
Appetite
Publisher
Elsevier
Publication Date
Dec 01, 2021
Volume
167
Pages
105599–105599
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1016/j.appet.2021.105599
PMID: 34271078
Source
Medline
Keywords
Language
English
License
Unknown

Abstract

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a trauma and stress-related disorder which has been shown to be highly comorbid with, and commonly a precedent of, the eating disorders anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, and binge eating disorder. The objective of this review is to discuss a potential overlapping neurobiological mechanism for this comorbidity. Alterations in glutamatergic neurotransmission have been observed in all four of the aforementioned disorders. Excessive excitation via glutamate contributes to excitotoxicity, and over-activation of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis, both of which have implications for the deterioration of various brain structures. Prominent structures impacted include the hippocampus, hypothalamus, and prefrontal cortex, all of which are integral to the regulation of stress and eating. The current review suggests that altered glutamate function by trauma or extreme stress may facilitate PTSD and subsequent eating disorder onset, and that glutamatergic modulation may be a key treatment for individuals suffering from these conditions. This overlapping mechanism may help inform future research on individuals with comorbid PTSD and eating disorders, and it could also help inform ways to potentially prevent the onset of these conditions. Copyright © 2021 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

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