Leptin, ghrelin, and endocannabinoids: potential therapeutic targets in anorexia nervosa.
Anorexia nervosa (AN) has the highest mortality rate between psychiatric disorders, and evidence for managing it is still very limited. So far, pharmacological treatment has focused on a narrow range of drugs and only a few controlled studies have been performed. Furthermore, the studies have been of short duration and included a limited number of subjects, often heterogenic with regard to stage and acute nutritive status. Thus, novel approaches are urgently needed. Body weight homeostasis is tightly regulated throughout life. With the discovery of orexigenic and anorectic signals, an array of new molecular targets to control eating behavior has emerged. This review focuses on recent advances in three important signal systems: leptin, ghrelin, and endocannabinoids toward the identification of potential therapeutical breakthroughs in AN.