Limbic-thalamo-cortical projections and reward-related circuitry integrity affects eating behavior: A longitudinal DTI study in adolescents with restrictive eating disorders
DOI 10.1371/journal.pone.0172129

Few studies have used diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) to investigate the micro-structural alterations of WM in patients with restrictive eating disorders (rED), and longitudinal data are lacking. Twelve patients with rED were scanned at diagnosis and after one year of family-based treatment, and compared to twenty-four healthy controls (HCs) through DTI analysis. A tract-based spatial statistics procedure was used to investigate diffusivity parameters: fractional anisotropy (FA) and mean, radial and axial diffusivities (MD, RD and AD, respectively). Reduced FA and increased RD were found in patients at baseline in the corpus callosum, corona radiata and posterior thalamic radiation compared with controls. However, no differences were found between follow-up patients and controls, suggesting a partial normalization of the diffusivity parameters. In patients, trends for a negative correlation were found between the baseline FA of the right anterior corona radiata and the Eating Disorder Examination Questionnaire total score, while a positive trend was found between the baseline FA in the splenium of corpus callosum and the weight loss occurred between maximal documented weight and time of admission. A positive trend for correlation was also found between baseline FA in the right anterior corona radiata and the decrease in the Obsessive-Compulsive Inventory Revised total score over time. Our results suggest that the integrity of the limbic–thalamo–cortical projections and the reward-related circuitry are important for cognitive control processes and reward responsiveness in regulating eating behavior.