Nutrients 14 (24) - [2022-12-09; online 2022-12-09]
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.