Precursor amino acid concentrations in normal weight bulimics and normal controls

R. Bruce Lydiard, Kathleen T. Brady, Patrick M. O'Neil, Barbara Schlesier-Carter, Sharon Hamilton, Quinton Rogers, James C. Ballenger

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


1. 1. CNS serotonergic neurotransmission has been implicated in the control of appetitive behavior. The ratio of plasma tryptophan (TRP) to other large neutral amino acids (LNAA) is believed to regulate CNS serotonin (5-HT) synthesis. 2. 2. After an overnight fast, plasma TRP ratios were determined in 23 normal weight bulimics and 7 normal controls. 3. 3. All subjects were assessed for mood disorder using a SADS interview and Beck Depression ratings. 4. 4. There was no significant difference in TRP ratios between bulimics and normal controls. TRP ratios in depressed bulimics were not significantly different from those of nondepressed bulimics. 5. 5. Potential abnormalities in CNS serotonergic function in bulimics are not reflected in decreased baseline TRP ratios. Further investigation of the dynamic serotonergic system may prove fruitful. 6. 6. Reduced availability of tryptophan for conversion to serotonin is not likely to be the postulated biological abnormality common to both depression and bulimia.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)893-898
Number of pages6
JournalProgress in Neuropsychopharmacology and Biological Psychiatry
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jan 1 1988
Externally publishedYes


  • Bulimia
  • depression
  • precursor amino acids
  • serotonin
  • tryptophan

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology
  • Biological Psychiatry


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