Cerebral grey matter (GM) reduction has repeatedly been shown in anorexia nervosa (AN). Evidence concerning completeness of GM restitution in recovered patients is contradictory.
Five long-term recovered patients with AN were compared to symptomatic subjects and healthy controls using voxel-based morphometry. Whole brain GM, white matter and cerebrospinal fluid fractions were studied. Additionally, voxels that had shown significant GM reductions in symptomatic patients were investigated.
Recovered subjects had been severely affected when symptomatic (mean body mass index: 12.1 kg/m2) and were in remission for a very long time period (>5 years). Whole brain tissue fractions did not differ from controls. Regional analysis showed persistent GM volume reduction, in particular of the precuneus.
This study further supports the assumption that GM volume restitution is incomplete in subjects, who had previously been severely affected by anorexia nervosa. The meaning of GM reduction in long-term recovered AN patients, that is, its pathophysiological relevance, however, remains unclear. Furthermore, the precise aetiology of GM reduction remains an open question. Copyright © 2010 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd and Eating Disorders Association.