Volumetric alterations in the nucleus accumbens and caudate nucleus in bulimia nervosa: A structural magnetic resonance imaging study

Authors

  • Joana Coutinho PhD,

    Corresponding author
    1. Neuropsychophysiology Lab, CIPsi, School of Psychology, University of Minho, Braga, Portugal
    • Correspondence to: Joana Fernandes Pereira Coutinho, School of Psychology, University of Minho, Campus de Gualtar 4710-057 Braga, Portugal. E-mail: joanafpc@gmail.com

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  • Ana Filipa Ramos MSc,

    1. Neuropsychophysiology Lab, CIPsi, School of Psychology, University of Minho, Braga, Portugal
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  • Liliana Maia MSc,

    1. Neuropsychophysiology Lab, CIPsi, School of Psychology, University of Minho, Braga, Portugal
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  • Liliana Castro PhD,

    1. Psychotherapy and Psychopathology Research Unit, CIPsi, School of Psychology, University of Minho, Braga, Portugal
    2. Hospital de Magalhães Lemos EPE, Porto, Portugal
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  • Eva Conceição PhD,

    1. Psychotherapy and Psychopathology Research Unit, CIPsi, School of Psychology, University of Minho, Braga, Portugal
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  • Allan Geliebter PhD,

    1. NY Obesity Nutrition Research Center, St Luke's-Roosevelt Hospital, Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, New York
    2. Department of Psychology, Touro College and University System, New York
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  • Paulo P.P. Machado PhD,

    1. Psychotherapy and Psychopathology Research Unit, CIPsi, School of Psychology, University of Minho, Braga, Portugal
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  • Óscar Gonçalves PhD,

    1. Neuropsychophysiology Lab, CIPsi, School of Psychology, University of Minho, Braga, Portugal
    2. Department of Counseling and Applied Educational Psychology, Bouvé College of Health Sciences, Northeastern University, Boston, Massachusetts
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  • Adriana Sampaio PhD

    1. Neuropsychophysiology Lab, CIPsi, School of Psychology, University of Minho, Braga, Portugal
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  • Supported by SFRH/BPD/75014/2010 from Foundation for Science and Technology, Portugal (FCT), by SFRH/SINTD/60106/2009 from Foundation for Science and Technology, Portugal (FCT) and by Foundation for Science and Technology, Portugal (FCT/PTDC/PSI-PCL/099981/2008).

ABSTRACT

Objective

Bulimia nervosa (BN) is an eating disorder characterized by recurrent episodes of binge eating and inappropriate compensatory behaviors (such as purging, fasting, or excessive exercise) to prevent weight gain. BN has been associated with deficits in inhibitory control processes. The basal ganglia specifically, the nucleus accumbens (NAc) and the caudate nucleus (CN) are part of the frontostriatal circuits involved in inhibitory control. The main goal of this study was to investigate the presence of morphological alterations in the NAc and the CN in a sample of patients diagnosed with BN.

Method

Forty-one female participants, 21 diagnosed with BN and 20 healthy matched controls (HC), underwent a structural magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) acquisition and clinical assessment. The NAc and the CN were manually segmented using the software Slicer 3D.

Results

The results reveal a significant volumetric decrease in the CN and a preserved NAc volume in BN compared to the control group.

Discussion

These findings suggest a contributory role of the caudate nucleus part of the dorsal striatum in the psychopathology of BN. © 2014 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. (Int J Eat Disord 2015; 48:206–214)

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