Feb 3, 2011

Asymmetry of salivary cortisol and α-amylase responses to psychosocial stress in anorexia nervosa but not in bulimia nervosa

Psychological Medicine
Palmiero MonteleoneM Maj


The stress response involves the activation of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis and the sympathetic nervous system (SNS). As a role for stress in determining of the onset and the natural course of eating disorders (EDs) has been proposed, the study of the psychobiology of the stress response in patients with anorexia nervosa (AN) and bulimia nervosa (BN) should be helpful in understanding the pathophysiology of these disorders. The two neurobiological components of the stress response can be easily explored in humans by the measurement of salivary cortisol and α-amylase response to a stressor. Therefore, we assessed salivary cortisol and α-amylase responses to the Trier Social Stress Test (TSST) in symptomatic patients with AN and BN compared to healthy controls. Seven AN women, eight BN women and eight age-matched healthy females underwent the TSST between 1530 and 1700 h. Salivary cortisol and α-amylase levels were measured by an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA). Compared to healthy women, AN patients showed a normal cortisol response to the TSST, although this occurred at significantly increased hormone levels, and an almost complete absence of response of α-amylase. BN women, however, exhibited enhance...Continue Reading

Mentioned in this Paper

Serum Hormone Levels (Lab Test)
Biological Adaptation to Stress
Salivary alpha-Amylases
Sympathetic Nervous System
Pituitary Diseases
Mental Suffering
Exercise Stress Test
Amylase Measurement
Adrenal Glands

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