Cytokines and water distribution in anorexia nervosa

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In patients with anorexia nervosa (AN), decreased intracellular (ICW), extracellular (ECW), and total body water (TBW) as well as changes in serum cytokine concentrations have been reported. In this exploratory study, we measured body composition and serum cytokine levels in patients with AN (n = 27) and healthy controls (HCs; n = 13). Eating disorder symptom severity was assessed using the Eating Disorder Examination-Questionnaire (EDE-Q). Body composition was determined by bioimpedance analysis (BIA) which provided information on ICW, ECW, and TBW. Following blood collection, 27 cytokines and chemokines were quantified using multiplex ELISA-based technology: Eotaxin, Eotaxin-3, granulocyte-macrophage colony-stimulating factor (GM-CSF), interferon- (IFN-) γ, interleukin- (IL-) 1α, IL-1β, IL-2, IL-4, IL-5, IL-6, IL-7, IL-8, IL-10, IL-12/IL-23p40, IL-12p70, IL-13, IL-15, IL-16, IL-17A, interferon γ-induced protein- (IP-) 10, macrophage inflammatory protein- (MIP-) 1α, MIP-1β, monocyte chemoattractant protein- (MCP-) 1, MCP-4, thymus and activation-regulated chemokine (TARC), TNF-α, and TNF-β. ICW, ECW, and TBW volumes were significantly lower in patients with AN than in HCs. In the whole sample, GM-CSF, MCP-4, and IL-4 were positively, whereas IFN-γ, IL-6, and IL-10 were negatively associated with all three parameters of body water. In AN participants, we found a statistically significant negative correlation of IL-10 with ICW, ECW, and TBW. Our results suggest an interaction between body water and the cytokine system. Underlying mechanisms are unclear but may involve a loss of water from the gut, kidneys, or skin due to AN-associated inflammatory processes.

Original languageEnglish
Article number8811051
Publication statusPublished - 2021


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