Anorexia nervosa and inflammatory bowel diseases – diagnostic and genetic associations


Authors: Janne Tidselbak Larsen, Zeynep Yilmaz, Bjarni Jóhann Vilhjálmsson, Laura M. Thornton, Michael Eriksen Benros, Katherine L. Musliner, Eating Disorders Working Group of the Psychiatric Genomics Consortium, Thomas Werge, David M. Hougaard, Preben Bo Mortensen, Cynthia M. Bulik, Liselotte Vogdrup Petersen

Journal: JCPP Advances

Aim of Study: To investigate the comorbidity of diagnosed anorexia nervosa (AN) and inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD) and IBD subtypes of Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis and to explore genetic associations between AN and IBD.

Participants: Data sources were the Danish population registers, polygenic scores, and summary statistics from genome-wide association studies. The total study population was 1,238,813 (600,774 female) with 5,067 diagnosed with AN and 6,947 diagnosed with any IBD. Genetic data were available for subsample of 23,236 individuals (4,271 with AN and 176 with any IBD).

Results: Results from this study reveal a significant association of a prior diagnosis of AN with an increased risk of subsequent IBD, Crohn’s disease, and ulcerative colitis. There was no significant association of a subsequent diagnosis of AN with prior diagnoses of IBD, Crohn’s disease, or ulcerative colitis. he present study found no suggestion of causal or genetic relationships between AN and IBD.

Conclusions: The results reveal a significant association between AN and IBD; however, the association may not be due to genetic factors.

Clinical implications: Clinicians should be aware of the association between AN and IBD. Specifically, IBD could be a differential diagnosis or present as a later emergent disease, and gastrointestinal symptoms may be a manifestation of IBD rather than a consequence of AN.



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