Category: Obesity/Nutrition

Monitor: 19

19 - OXYTOCIN AND EMOTIONAL DYSREGULATION IN OBESE PATIENTS: A PILOT STUDY

Saturday, Apr 27
11:30 AM – 12:00 PM

Objective :

Oxytocin (OXT) is a neuropeptide known for its peripheral effects, mainly connected to childbirth and lactation. In the last years there have been increased evidences for its involvement in social behavior, emotional functioning, regulation of food intake and induction of weight loss. Obesity can associate to social and emotional dysregulation. The aim of this study was to evaluate the possible relationship between serum OXT, emotive dysregulation and weight loss in a population of obese patients.


Methods :

Patients were recruited among subjects referring to the High Specialization Center for the Care of Obesity, Dept. of Experimental Medicine, Sapienza University of Rome. We enrolled 57 adult obese patients, evaluated by biochemical exams, antropometric measurements, body composition (DEXA), serum OXT (ELISA) and 3 psycometric tests: RAADS-R (Ritvo Autism and Asperger Diagnostic Scale Revised), BUT (Body Uneasiness Test) with Global Severity Index (GSI) and TAS 20 (Toronto Alexithymia Scale 20). Then a dietary intervention with very low kilojoule diet for 90 days was performed.


Results :

Circulating levels of OXT correlated with BMI and fat mass and were predictors of weight loss. 29 patients had pathological BUT (traits of corporeal dysmorphia); 17 pathological RAADS (autistic traits); 19 pathological TAS 20 (traits of alexithymia); 7 alterations in all of them. BUT-GSI correlated with OXT levels and weight loss.


Discussion :

The higher was the fat mass and the BMI, the higher was the OXT serum concentration, reflecting the OXT production in the fat tissue. OXT level correlated with weight loss, and it is consistent with the literature (oxytocin is tested as a potential therapy for obesity). In our study the incidence of psychological disturbances, especially dysmorphophobia (part of obsessive-compulsive disorder, OCD), was high (51%), and OXT level increased with the grade of psychological distress. This data are in contrast with the concept of OXT as the well-being hormone, but other recent studies already speculated a correlation with emotional behavior typical of caring and OCD. The association between BUT-GSI and weight loss can suggest that in obese patients dysmorphophobia traits could help the weight loss, probably thanks to the rituals and the pathological attention of OCD.


Conclusion :

OXT serum levels are good predictors of weight loss and are related to alterations of the body image. Patients with dysmorphophobia traits had bigger weight loss, probably for strict adherence to the therapy.The results of this pylot study seem to be interesting, but need to be confirmed with case-control study with a larger number of patients.

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Elena Gangitano

Resident
Department of Experimental Medicine, Section of Medical Pathophysiology, Food Science and Endocrinology, Sapienza University of Rome, Rome, Italy
Rome, Italy

I am a fifth year fellow in Endocrinology at Sapienza University, Rome

Rossella Tozzi

Fellow
Department of Experimental Medicine, Section of Medical Pathophysiology, Food Science and Endocrinology, Sapienza University of Rome, Rome, Italy, Italy

Fellow of endocrinology at Sapienza University. Elena Gangitano and Rossella Tozzi contributed equally to this work.

Mikiko Watanabe

PhD student
Department of Experimental Medicine, Section of Medical Pathophysiology, Food Science and Endocrinology, Sapienza University of Rome, Rome, Italy, Italy

PhD student at Sapienza University

Sabrina Basciani

Researcher
Department of Experimental Medicine, Section of Medical Pathophysiology, Food Science and Endocrinology, Sapienza University of Rome, Rome, Italy, Italy

Researcher at Sapienza University

Alessandra Caputi

Fellow
Department of Experimental Medicine, Section of Medical Pathophysiology, Food Science and Endocrinology, Sapienza University of Rome, Rome, Italy, Italy

Fellow of endocrinology at Sapienza University

Daniela Costantini

Fellow
Department of Experimental Medicine, Section of Medical Pathophysiology, Food Science and Endocrinology, Sapienza University of Rome, Rome, Italy, Italy

Fellow in endocrinology at Sapienza University

Francesca De Giorgi

Fellow
Department of Experimental Medicine, Section of Medical Pathophysiology, Food Science and Endocrinology, Sapienza University of Rome, Rome, Italy, Italy

Fellow in endocrinology, Sapienza University of Rome

Stefania Mariani

Medical Doctor
Department of Experimental Medicine, Section of Medical Pathophysiology, Food Science and Endocrinology, Sapienza University of Rome, Rome, Italy, Italy

Doctor, Endocrinology, Sapienza University

Lucio Gnessi

Full Professor
Department of Experimental Medicine, Section of Medical Pathophysiology, Food Science and Endocrinology, Sapienza University of Rome, Rome, Italy, Italy

Full Professor of Endocrinology, Sapienza University

Carla Lubrano

Professor
Department of Experimental Medicine, Section of Medical Pathophysiology, Food Science and Endocrinology, Sapienza University of Rome, Rome, Italy, Italy

Professor of Endocrinology, Sapienza University