Growing interest exists in the association of the immune system and its role in the development and maintenance of eating disorders (ED). Current evidence suggests that serum cytokine levels seem to be elevated in females with anorexia nervosa (AN). However, less is known in bulimia nervosa (BN) and other specified feeding and eating disorders (OSFED), specially in males. We aimed to perform a case-control study in a sample of forty eight young patients (38 females and 10 males) with early diagnosis of AN, BN or OSFED and without any previous treatment, compared with twenty nine healthy controls (19 females and 10 males) matched by age, sex and socioeconomic status. We evaluated eating-related psychopathology and depressive symptoms and measured serum concentration of proinflammatory cytokines IL-1β, IL-6, and TNF-α and anti-inflammatory cytokine IL-10. Contrary to expectations, levels of IL-1β and IL-6 were significantly lower in ED patients, compared with healthy controls. Comparing the different groups of females, we found elevated levels of IL-10 among ED patients therefore supporting the idea of an immunosuppressive status in the early stages. This could indicate that early onset patients without any previous treatment could remain in a reward-dependent state with a lower immune response.
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