White matter alterations in anorexia nervosa: Evidence from a voxel-based meta-analysis

Manuela Barona, Melanie Brown, Christopher Clark, Sophia Frangou, Tonya White, Nadia Micali

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31 Citations (SciVal)


Anorexia nervosa (AN) is a severe psychiatric disorder with a complex and poorly understood etiology. Recent studies have sought to investigate differences in white matter microstructure in AN, with significant results in several brain regions. A systematic literature search of Embase, PubMed and Psychinfo databases was conducted in order to identify Diffusion Tensor Imaging (DTI) studies of patients with AN and controls. We performed a meta-analysis of studies that met our inclusion criteria (N = 13) using effect size-signed differential mapping (AES-SDM) to detect differences in Fractional Anisotropy (FA) in patients with AN (N = 227) compared to healthy controls (N = 243). The quantitative meta-analysis of DTI studies identified decreased FA in the posterior areas of the corpus callosum, the left superior longitudinal fasciculus II, and the left precentral gyrus, as well as increased FA in the right cortico-spinal projections, and lingual gyrus in AN vs. controls. Studies of WM architecture are still limited in AN; further studies with longitudinal design are needed to better understand the complexity of abnormalities, and their persistence.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)285-295
Number of pages11
JournalNeuroscience and Biobehavioral Reviews
Publication statusPublished - 31 May 2019

Bibliographical note

Copyright © 2019. Published by Elsevier Ltd.


  • Anisotropy
  • Anorexia Nervosa/diagnostic imaging
  • Brain/diagnostic imaging
  • Corpus Callosum/diagnostic imaging
  • Diffusion Tensor Imaging
  • Humans
  • Image Processing, Computer-Assisted
  • White Matter/diagnostic imaging


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