Alterations in brain structures related to taste reward circuitry in ill and recovered anorexia nervosa and in bulimia nervosa

Guido K. Frank*, Megan E. Shott, Jennifer O. Hagman, Vijay A. Mittal

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

140 Scopus citations

Abstract

Objective: The pathophysiology of anorexia nervosa remains obscure, but structural brain alterations could be functionally important biomarkers. The authors assessed taste pleasantness and reward sensitivity in relation to brain structure, which may be related to food avoidance commonly seen in eating disorders. Method: The authors used structural MR imaging to study gray and white matter volumes in women with current restrictingtype anorexia nervosa (N=19), women recovered from restricting-type anorexia nervosa (N=24), women with bulimia nervosa (N=19), andhealthy comparisonwomen (N=24). Results: All eating disorder groups exhibited increased gray matter volume of the medial orbitofrontal cortex (gyrus rectus). Manual tracing confirmed larger gyrus rectus volume, and volume predicted taste pleasantness ratings across all groups. Analyses also indicated other morphological differences between diagnostic categories. Antero-ventral insula gray matter volumes were increased on the right side in the anorexia nervosa and recovered anorexia nervosa groups and on the left side in the bulimia nervosa group relative to the healthy comparison group. Dorsal striatum volumes were reduced in the recovered anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa groups and predicted sensitivity to reward in all three eating disorder groups. The eating disorder groups also showed reduced white matter in right temporal and parietal areas relative to the healthy comparison group. The results held when a range of covariates, such as age, depression, anxiety, and medications, were controlled for. Conclusion: Brain structure in the medial orbitofrontal cortex, insula, and striatumis altered in eating disorders and suggests altered brain circuitry that has been associated with taste pleasantness and reward value.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1152-1160
Number of pages9
JournalAmerican Journal of Psychiatry
Volume170
Issue number10
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 1 2013

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Alterations in brain structures related to taste reward circuitry in ill and recovered anorexia nervosa and in bulimia nervosa'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this