Get access

White matter integrity is reduced in bulimia nervosa

Authors

  • Lisa N. Mettler BS,

    1. Department of Psychiatry, University of Colorado School of Medicine, University of Colorado, Aurora, Colorado
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Megan E. Shott BS,

    1. Department of Psychiatry, University of Colorado School of Medicine, University of Colorado, Aurora, Colorado
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Tamara Pryor PhD,

    1. Eating Disorders Center Denver, Denver, Colorado
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Tony T. Yang MD, PhD,

    1. Division of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Department of Psychiatry, University of California, San Francisco, California
    2. Division of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Department of Psychiatry, University of California, San Diego, California
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Guido K.W. Frank MD

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Psychiatry, University of Colorado School of Medicine, University of Colorado, Aurora, Colorado
    2. Neuroscience Program, University of Colorado Denver, Aurora, Colorado
    • Departments of Psychiatry and Neuroscience, Director, Developmental Brain Research Program, University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus, Children's Hospital Colorado, Gary Pavilion A036/B-130, 13123 East 16th Avenue, Aurora, CO 80045
    Search for more papers by this author

  • Supported by K23 MH080135-01A2 from NIMH and by davis foundation award of the klarman family foundation grants program in eating disorders.

  • Conflict of interests: Drs. guido k.w. frank, tamara pryor, and tony t. yang have no conflict of interest to declare. ms. megan e. shott and ms. lisa n. mettler also have no conflict of interest to declare. all authors contributed significantly to this manuscript. dr. guido k.w. frank is on the scientific advisory board of the eating disorders center of denver.

Abstract

Objective:

To investigate brain white matter (WM) functionality in bulimia nervosa (BN) in relation to anxiety.

Method:

Twenty-one control women (CW, mean age 27 ± 7 years) and 20 BN women (mean age 25 ± 5 years) underwent brain diffusion tensor imaging to measure fractional anisotropy (FA; an indication of WM axon integrity) and the apparent diffusion coefficient (ADC; reflecting WM cell damage).

Results:

FA was decreased in BN in the bilateral corona radiata extending into the posterior limb of the internal capsule, the corpus callosum, the right sub-insular WM, and right fornix. In CW but not BN, trait anxiety correlated negatively with fornix, corpus callosum, and left corona radiata FA. ADC was increased in BN compared with CW in the bilateral corona radiata, corpus callosum, inferior fronto-occipital, and uncinate fasciculus. Alterations in BN WM functionality were not due to structural brain alterations.

Discussion:

WM integrity is disturbed in BN, especially in the corona radiata, which has been associated with taste and brain reward processing. Whether this is a premorbid condition or an effect from the illness is yet uncertain. The relationships between WM FA and trait anxiety in CW but not BN may suggest that altered WM functionality contributes to high anxious traits in BN. © 2013 by Wiley Periodicals,Inc. (Int J Eat Disord 2013)

Ancillary