Females With Anorexia Nervosa Have Lower Gut Microbial Diversity

HealthDay News — Females with anorexia nervosa (AN) have lower gut microbial diversity, according to a study published online in the International Journal of Eating Disorders.

Sabrina Mörkl, MD, from the University of Graz in Austria, and colleagues included 106 female patients in a cross-sectional study: 18 with AN, 20 athletes, 26 normal-weight, 22 overweight, and 20 obese women. DNA was extracted from stool samples and 16S rRNA gene analysis was performed.

The researchers found that patients with AN and obese participants had lower alpha diversity compared with other groups, while the highest alpha diversity was seen for athletes. 

Significant associations were identified for several categories with community structure: body fat parameters, serum lipids, C-reactive protein, depression scales, and smoking. In comparative analysis, Coriobacteriaceae was the only enriched phylotype in AN versus other entities.

“This study provides further evidence of intestinal dysbiosis in AN and sheds light on characteristics of the gut microbiome in different body mass index and physical activity groups,” the authors write. “These insights point to new modulation possibilities of the gut microbiota which could improve the standard therapy of AN.”

Related Articles


Mörkl S, Lackner S, Müller W, et al. Gut microbiota and body composition in anorexia nervosa inpatients in comparison to athletes, overweight, obese, and normal weight controls [published online November 13, 2017]. Int J Eat Disord. doi:10.1002/eat.22801