The neurobiology of anorexia nervosa: a systematic review

Andrea Phillipou, Susan Lee Rossell, David Jonathan Castle

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

67 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Objective: Recent advances in neuroimaging techniques have enabled a better understanding of the neurobiological underpinnings of anorexia nervosa (AN). The aim of this paper was to summarise our current understanding of the neurobiology of AN. Methods: The literature was searched using the electronic databases PubMed and Google Scholar, and by additional hand searches through reference lists and specialist eating disorders journals. Relevant studies were included if they were written in English, only used human participants, had a specific AN group, used clinical populations of AN, group comparisons were reported for AN compared to healthy controls and not merely AN compared to other eating disorders or other psychiatric groups, and were not case studies. Results: The systematic review summarises a number of structural and functional brain differences which are reported in individuals with AN, including differences in neurotransmitter function, regional cerebral blood flow, glucose metabolism, volumetrics and the blood oxygen level dependent response. Conclusion: Several structural and functional differences have been reported in AN, some of which reverse and others which persist following weight restoration. These findings have important implications for our understanding of the neurobiological underpinnings of AN, and further research in this field may provide new direction for the development of more effective treatments. ? 2014 The Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)128 - 152
Number of pages25
JournalAustralian & New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry
Volume48
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2014

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