Regional differences in brain metabolites in patients with anorexia nervosa


  • There are significant differences in brain metabolite ratios in specific brain regions of people with and without anorexia nervosa. Patients with anorexia have an increased choline-to-creatine (Cho/Cr) ratio and a decreased macromolecules-to-creatine (MM09/Cr), N-acetyl aspartate-to-creatine (NAA/Cr), and myo-inositol/creatine (mI/Cr) ratio in several key brain regions.

Why this matters

  • Anorexia nervosa is an eating behavior disorder characterized by strict, voluntary, and often prolonged food deprivation. Anorexia is associated with risk of heart failure, osteoporosis, infertility, and depression, and has a mortality rate of 10%.

  • It has been shown that region-specific changes exist in the brains of people with anorexia, particularly related to gray and white matter volume. Anorexia has been associated with metabolic changes, however studies to date have elicited contradictory results.

  • An investigation of metabolic changes per specific brain regions is warranted and may clarify previous findings.