Several lines of evidence, including psychopathological, neurobiological, pharmacological and epidemiological data, supported the association between Anorexia Nervosa (AN) and Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD). The aim of the present study is to test the hypothesis of partial common genetic background of both disease, AN and OCD. A total of 116 patients with AN, 74 patients with OCD and 91 controls participated in this study. 213 single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in 28 candidate genes were analyzed. Five SNPs achieved 0.004 (the nominal p-value expected by chance), 3 with empirical significant p-values (rs10070190 (CDH9) p = 1 × 10(-3), rs4825476 (GRIA3) p = 4 × 10(-4), and rs1074815 (TPH2) p = 8 × 10(-4)) and 2 additional polymorphisms showing nominal significance (rs2834070 (OLIG2) p = 2 × 10(-3) and rs11783752 (SCL18A1) p = 3 × 10(-3)), were found to be related to both AN and OCD. In addition, rs3825885 (NTRK3, p = 9 × 10(-4)) was identified as an AN risk variant, and rs11179027 (TPH2, p = 2 × 10(-3)) as an OCD marker. The ROC analysis confirmed these results and showed interaction among the significant SNPs. The preliminary results we report here reveal a partial common genetic background in AN and OCD, in agreement with previous clinical findings of common symptomathology between these two diseases and open the field of possible treatments for AN. The interaction observed between the associated polymorphisms, could indicate that there is a biological interaction between the serotonin (TPH2 and SLC18A1) and glutamate (GRIA3) pathways and the factors related to neurogenesis (CDH9, OLIG2 and NTRK3) for the explanation of etiopathophysiology in both diseases. However, the results must be replicated in studies with larger cohorts in order to confirm these associations.
Structural and functional brain abnormalities have been described in anorexia nervosa (AN). The objective of this study was to examine whether there is abnormal regional brain activation during a working memory task not associated with any emotional stimuli in adolescent patients with anorexia and to detect possible changes after weight recovery. Fourteen children and adolescents (age range 11-18 years) consecutively admitted with DSM-IV diagnosis of AN and fourteen control subjects of similar age were assessed by means of psychopathological scales and functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) during a working memory task. After seven months of treatment and weight recovery, nine AN patients were reassessed. Before treatment, the AN group showed significantly higher activation than controls in temporal and parietal areas and especially in the temporal superior gyrus during performance of the cognitive task. Control subjects did not show greater activation than AN patients in any region. A negative correlation was found between brain activation and body mass index and a positive correlation between activation and depressive symptomatology. At follow-up after weight recovery, AN patients showed a decrease in brain activation in these areas and did not present differences with respect to controls. These results show that adolescent AN patients showed hyperactivation in the parietal and especially the temporal lobe during a working memory task, suggesting that they must make an additional effort to perform at normal levels. This activation correlated with clinical variables. In these young patients, differences with respect to controls disappeared after weight recovery.
Various neuroimaging techniques have revealed morphological and functional alterations in anorexia nervosa (AN), although few spectroscopic magnetic resonance studies have examined short-term weight-recovered AN patients. Subjects were 32 female adolescent patients (between 13 and 18 years old) seen consecutively in our department and who met DSM-IV diagnostic criteria for AN. All of them had received a minimum of six months of treatment and were short-term weight-recovered (for one to three months) with a body mass index ranging from 18 to 23. A group of 20 healthy female volunteer controls of similar age were also included. All subjects were assessed with psychopathological scales and magnetic resonance spectroscopy. Total choline (Cho) (p=0.007) and creatine (Cr) (p=0.008) levels were significantly higher in AN patients than in controls. AN patients receiving psychopharmacological treatment with SSRIs (N=9) had metabolite levels similar to control subjects, but patients without this treatment did not. The present study shows abnormalities in brain neurometabolites related to Cho compounds and Cr in the prefrontal cortex in short-term weight-recovered adolescent AN patients, principally in patients not undergoing psychopharmacological treatment. More studies with larger samples are necessary to test the generalizability of the present results.
The objective was to examine whether cerebral volumes are reduced, and in what regions, in adolescents with anorexia nervosa and to study changes after nutritional recovery. Twelve anorexia nervosa (DSM-IV) patients aged 11-17 consecutively admitted to an Eating Disorders Unit were assessed by means of psychopathological scales, neuropsychological battery and voxel-based morphometric (VBM) magnetic resonance imaging at admission and after 7 months follow-up. Nine control subjects of similar age, gender and estimated intelligence level were also studied. The two groups showed differences in gray matter (F=22.2; p<0.001) and cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) (F=21.2; p<0.001) but not in white matter volumes. In anorexic patients, gray matter volume correlated negatively with the copy time from the Rey Complex Figure Test. In the regional VBM study several temporal and parietal gray matter regions were reduced. During follow-up there was a greater global increase in gray matter (F=10.7; p=0.004) and decrease in CSF (F=22.1; p=0.001) in anorexic patients. The increase in gray matter correlated with a decrease in cortisol (Spearman correlation=-0.73; p=0.017). At follow-up there were no differences in global gray matter (F=2.1; p=0.165), white matter (F=0.02, p=0.965) or CSF (F=1.8; p=0.113) volumes between both groups. There were still some smaller areas, in the right temporal and both supplementary motor area, showing differences between them in the regional VBM study. In conclusion, in adolescent anorexic patients gray matter is more affected than white matter and mainly involves the posterior regions of the brain. Overall gray matter alterations are reversible after nutritional recovery.
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