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Multilocus Dopamine Gene Variation, Reward Sensitivity, and Aberrant Eating.

Donofry, Shannon D. (2014) Multilocus Dopamine Gene Variation, Reward Sensitivity, and Aberrant Eating. Master's Thesis, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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Background: Evidence suggests that aberrant eating may be partially motivated by the rewarding properties of food, in addition to caloric or metabolic need. Given the role that the neurotransmitter dopamine (DA) plays in the reinforcement of reward driven appetitive behaviors like eating, it is hypothesized that DA gene variation may contribute to the development of aberrant eating behavior by increasing sensitivity to signals of reward. Methods: A sample of midlife community volunteers from the Adult Health and Behavior Project (AHAB-1; N = 921) were genotyped for five DA gene variants, which were summed as a cumulative risk score. Participants completed the Eating Disorders Inventory (EDI) to assess aberrant eating, and the Behavioral Activation Scale (BAS) to measure reward sensitivity. Results: Cumulative risk scores were not associated with presence or severity of bulimic symptoms, total BAS scores, or BMI, nor were total BAS scores associated with presence or severity of bulimic symptoms. The met allele of the COMT val/met single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) was associated with the presence of bulimic symptoms and drive for thinness, as well as the severity of body dissatisfaction. The insertion allele of the DRD2 ins/del polymorphism was associated with presence of bulimic symptoms, and the severity of drive for thinness. All EDI subscales, as well as total BAS scores, predicted higher BMI. Discussion: Although cumulative DA risk scores were not associated with bulimic symptoms, COMT and DRD2 SNPs predicted several features of aberrant eating, suggesting that they may increase susceptibility for aberrant eating in a generally healthy population. Future studies might consider examining the relationship between these SNPs and more proximal measures of eating behavior, such as food craving, or the size, frequency, and content of dietary intake, and replicating the present study in individuals with clinically significant aberrant eating.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Donofry, Shannon D.sdd14@pitt.eduSDD14
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairRoecklein, Kathryn Akroeck@pitt.eduKROECK
Committee MemberManuck, Stephen Bmanuck@pitt.eduMANUCK
Committee MemberPogue-Geile, Michael F.mfpg@pitt.eduMFPG
Committee MemberWildes, Jennifer E.wildesje@upmc.eduJEW14
Date: 22 May 2014
Date Type: Publication
Defense Date: 16 December 2013
Approval Date: 22 May 2014
Submission Date: 7 March 2014
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Number of Pages: 80
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences > Psychology
Degree: MS - Master of Science
Thesis Type: Master's Thesis
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: Dopamine, Multilocus genetic profile, cumulative risk, aberrant eating, binge eating
Date Deposited: 22 May 2014 19:05
Last Modified: 19 Dec 2016 14:41


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