AUTHORS: Regnaud A, Boto J, Klauser A, Lövblad KO, Vargas MI, Lazeyras F

Journal of Neuroimaging, : 1-12, August 2021


Background and Purpose

This study aimed to highlight anorexia nervosa-related metabolic changes in different brain regions with different gray and white matter contents.


In a prospective study, 25 anorexic patients with mean body mass index (BMI) of 14.79 kg/m2 (range 10.04–20.58) were compared with 15 healthy controls with mean BMI of 21.08 kg/m2 (range 18.36–27.34). Two-dimensional magnetic resonance spectroscopic imaging was acquired in the axial plane above the corpus callosum, including frontal, precentral, postcentral, cingular, and parietal regions, as well as the precuneus, each voxel containing gray and white matter.


In the anorexic group, a significant increase of choline/creatine was observed in all brain regions except the precuneus: frontal (p = 0.009), cingulate (p = 0.001), precentral (p = 0.001), postcentral (p = 0.001), and parietal (p = 0.002); and in white and gray matter (p< 0.001). Macromolecules09/creatine was decreased in the following regions: frontal (p = 0.003), cingulate (p< 0.001), precentral (p = 0.004), and precuneus (p = 0.007), and in white and gray matter (p< 0.05). We observed significantly lower values of N-acetyl aspartate/creatine in the frontal (p < 0.001) and precentral (p< 0.001) regions and in voxels containing more than 50% white matter (p = 0.001); and significantly lower values of myo-inositol/creatine in the precentral (p = 0.006), postcentral (p< 0.001), and precuneus (p = 0.006) regions.


We observed an increase in choline/creatine in anorexics, possibly reflecting increased cell turnover; a decrease in macromolecules, which was particularly low in the cingulate and precuneus the former being known to be altered in eating disorders; and a decrease in N-acetyl aspartate/creatine considered as a marker of neuronal density and function.

Download PDF