Role of interleukin-6 and transforming growth factor-β in anorexia nervosa

Claire Pomeroy, Elke Eckert, Shuxian Hu, Beth Eiken, Margaret Mentink, Ross D. Crosby, Chun C. Chao

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69 Scopus citations


Anorexia nervosa is a serious eating disorder characterized by extreme weight loss and abnormalities of the neuroendocrine and immune systems. To determine the potential role of tumor necrosis factor-α (TNF-α), interleukin-6 (IL-6), and transforming growth factor-β (TGF-β) in anorexia nervosa, serum concentrations of these cytokines were measured in patients with anorexia nervosa during starvation and after weight gain. Serum IL-6 and TGF-β concentrations were both significantly elevated during starvation and returned to levels comparable to those of normal-weight controls by the end of therapy. In contrast, serum TNF-α levels were undetectable in all patients and controls. Cytokines may play previously unsuspected roles in anorexia nervosa and its complications.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)836-839
Number of pages4
JournalBiological Psychiatry
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 15 1994


  • anorexia nervosa
  • Cytokines
  • eating disorders
  • interleukin-6
  • transforming growth factor-β
  • tumor necrosis factor


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