Variability in cannabinoid receptor genes is associated with psychiatric comorbidities in anorexia nervosa is the latest article published by CIAS’ researcher David Albuquerque in collaboration with Luz María González, Angustias García-Herráiz, Sonia Mota-Zamorano, Isalud Flores, and Guillermo Gervasini.
The work was published in the Eating and Weight Disorders – Studies on Anorexia, Bulimia and Obesity. See HERE.
The endocannabinoid system plays a key role in eating behavior regulating appetite and reward mechanisms, but the impact of its genetic variability has been scarcely studied in Anorexia Nervosa (AN). We aimed to analyze the association of genetic variants in cannabinoid receptors with the risk for AN and with psychiatric comorbidities that are commonplace in these patients. We screened 221 AN patients and 396 controls for 14 tag-SNPs in the CNR1 and CNR2 genes, coding for cannabinoids receptors CB1 and CB2, respectively. Patients were diagnosed according to DSM-5 criteria and interviewed with the SCL-90R and the EDI-2 inventories to identify AN-coupled and general psychopathology. None of the tag-SNPs was significantly related to AN risk. However, the rs806369-TT genotype and haplotype rs806368/rs1049353/rs806369 of CNR1 were respectively associated with lower weight (mean difference = − 4.92 kg, FDR-q = 0.044) and BMI (FDR-q = 0.042) in AN patients. CNR1 rs806374-TT and CNR2 rs3003335-AA and rs6658703-GG genotypes correlated with higher scores in the Positive Symptom Distress Index (PSDI, FDR-q = 0.011 and 0.009, respectively). These three genotypes were also linked to increased Hostility in the patients (FDR-q < 0.05). Remarkably, a proximal area of the CNR1 gene locus (positions 88,143,916–88,149,832) correlated with PSDI, Hostility, Asceticism and EDI-2 total scores after correcting by multiple testing (FDR-q < 0.05 in all instances). Finally, significant CNR1/CNR2 epistasis was observed in relation to Hostility (p < 0.01) and Maturity Fears (p < 0.001). The CNR1 and CNR2 genes, coding for cannabinoid receptors, may constitute important loci regarding psychiatric comorbidities in AN patients.