Plasma Concentrations of Short-Chain Fatty Acids in Active and Recovered Anorexia Nervosa
Journal article, 2022

Anorexia nervosa (AN) is one of the most lethal psychiatric disorders. To date, we lack adequate knowledge about the (neuro)biological mechanisms of this disorder to inform evidence-based pharmacological treatment. Gut dysbiosis is a trending topic in mental health, including AN. Communication between the gut microbiota and the brain is partly mediated by metabolites produced by the gut microbiota such as short-chain fatty acids (SCFA). Previous research has suggested a role of SCFA in weight regulation (e.g., correlations between specific SCFA-producing bacteria and BMI have been demonstrated). Moreover, fecal SCFA concentrations are reported to be altered in active AN. However, data concerning SCFA concentrations in individuals who have recovered from AN are limited. In the present study, we analyzed and compared the plasma concentrations of seven SCFA (acetic-, butyric-, formic-, isobutyric-, isovaleric-, propionic-, and succinic acid) in females with active AN (n = 109), recovered from AN (AN-REC, n = 108), and healthy-weight age-matched controls (CTRL, n = 110), and explored correlations between SCFA concentrations and BMI. Significantly lower plasma concentrations of butyric, isobutyric-, and isovaleric acid were detected in AN as well as AN-REC compared with CTRL. We also show significant correlations between plasma concentrations of SCFA and BMI. These results encourage studies evaluating whether interventions directed toward altering gut microbiota and SCFA could support weight restoration in AN.

short-chain fatty acids



anorexia nervosa


Jingjing Xu

Karolinska Institutet

Karolinska University Hospital

Rikard Landberg

Chalmers, Biology and Biological Engineering, Food and Nutrition Science

Catharina Lavebratt

Karolinska Institutet

Karolinska University Hospital

Cynthia M. Bulik

Karolinska Institutet

The University of North Carolina System

Mikael Landén

University of Gothenburg

Karolinska Institutet

Ida A.K. Nilsson

Karolinska Institutet

Karolinska University Hospital


2072-6643 (ISSN) 20726643 (eISSN)

Vol. 14 24 5247

Subject Categories


Pharmacology and Toxicology

Nutrition and Dietetics





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