White matter microstructure in anorexia nervosa

Andrea Phillipou, Sean P. Carruthers, Maria A. Di Biase, Andrew Zalesky, Larry A. Abel, David J. Castle, Caroline Gurvich, Susan L. Rossell

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10 Citations (Scopus)


The neurobiological underpinnings of anorexia nervosa (AN) are unclear. White matter deficits have been described in the illness, but findings are inconsistent between studies. The aim of this study was to investigate differences in white matter microstructure in AN using diffusion-weighted imaging (DWI). It was hypothesised that people with AN, relative to a healthy control (HC) group, would show decreased functional anisotropy (FA) and increased mean diffusivity (MD) in the fornix and superior longitudinal fasciculus, consistent with previous literature. Analyses were conducted on 23 females with AN and 26 age- and gender-matched HCs using tract-based spatial statistics (TBSS). The results revealed widespread FA decreases and MD increases in the AN group. Our hypothesis was largely supported, although FA differences were not specifically found in the fornix. The findings suggest extensive differences in white matter structure in AN, which may contribute to AN pathophysiology.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4385-4392
Number of pages8
JournalHuman Brain Mapping
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2018


  • diffusion
  • eating disorder
  • fractional anisotropy
  • magnetic resonance imaging
  • neurobiology

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