Grey matter abnormalities within cortico-limbic-striatal circuits in acute and weight-restored anorexia nervosa patients

Hans-Christoph Friederich, Stephan Walther, Martin Bendszus, Armin Biller, Philipp Thomann, Susanne Zeigermann, Tobias Katus, Romuald Brunner, Arne Zastrow, Wolfgang Herzog

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

86 Citations (Scopus)


Functional disturbances within cortico-striatal control systems have been implicated in the psychobiology (i.e. impaired cognitive-behavioral flexibility, perfectionist personality) of anorexia nervosa. The aim of the present study was to investigate the morphometry of brain regions within cortico-striatal networks in acute anorexia nervosa (AN) as well as long-term weight-restored anorexia nervosa (AN-WR) patients. A total of 39 participants: 12 AN, 13 AN-WR patients, and 14 healthy controls (HC) underwent high-resolution, T1-weighted magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), a cognitive-behavioral flexibility task, and a psychometric assessment. Group differences in local grey matter volume (GMV) were analyzed using whole brain voxel-based morphometry (VBM) and brain-atlas based automatic volumetry computation (IBASPM). Individual differences in total GMV were considered as a covariate in all analyses. In the regional brain morphometry, AN patients, as compared to HC, showed decreased GMVs (VBM and volumetry) in the anterior cingulate cortex (ACC), the supplementary motor area (SMA), and in subcortical regions (amygdala, putamen: VBM only). AN-WR compared to HC showed decreased GMV (VBM and volumetry) in the ACC and SMA, whereas GMV of the subcortical region showed no differences. The findings of the study suggest that structural abnormalities of the ACC and SMA were independent of the disease stage, whereas subcortical limbic-striatal changes were state dependent.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1106-1113
Number of pages8
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 16 Jan 2012


  • Acute Disease
  • Adult
  • Anorexia Nervosa/pathology
  • Cerebral Cortex/pathology
  • Corpus Striatum/pathology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Limbic System/pathology
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Male
  • Neural Pathways/pathology
  • Neurons/pathology
  • Weight Gain


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