Neurocircuity of eating disorders.

Department of Psychiatry, University of California, San Diego, CA, USA.
Current topics in behavioral neurosciences 01/2011; 6:37-57. DOI: 10.1007/7854_2010_85
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT OBJECTIVES: This chapter reviews brain imaging findings in anorexia and bulimia nervosa which characterize brain circuitry that may contribute to the pathophysiology of eating disorders (EDs). SUMMARY OF RECENT FINDINGS: Recent imaging studies provide evidence of disturbed gustatory processing in EDs which involve the anterior insula as well as striatal regions. These results raise the possibility that individuals with anorexia nervosa have altered appetitive mechanism that may involve sensory, interoceptive, or reward processes. Furthermore, evidence of altered reward mechanisms is supported by studies that suggest that individuals with anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa share a trait toward similar anterior ventral striatal pathway dysregulation. This shared trait disturbance of the modulation of reward and emotionality may create a vulnerability for dysregulated appetitive behaviors. However, those with anorexia nervosa may be able to inhibit appetite and have extraordinary self-control because of exaggerated dorsal cognitive circuit function, whereas individuals with bulimia nervosa are vulnerable to overeating when they get hungry, because they have less ability to control their impulses. FUTURE DIRECTIONS: Current therapeutic interventions have modest success. Better understanding of neurocircuits that may be related to altered appetite, mood, impulse control, and other symptoms underlying the pathophysiology of EDs might improve psychotherapeutic and drug treatment strategies.

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    Frontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience 09/2014; 8:351. · 4.16 Impact Factor
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    Human Brain Mapping 01/2015; · 6.92 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC) is known to be associated with food representation and monitoring of eating behaviour, but the neural mechanisms underlying attitudes towards food are still unclear. Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) was used in combination with the implicit association test (IAT) to investigate the causal role of mPFC in controlling implicit food evaluation in healthy volunteers. Participants performed an IAT on tasty and tasteless food to test TMS interaction with food evaluation. Moreover, IATs assessing self-related concepts and attitude towards flowers and insects were carried out to control whether TMS could also affect self-representation or, more in general, the cognitive mechanisms required by the IAT. TMS was applied over mPFC; the left parietal cortex (lPA) was also stimulated as control site. Results revealed that mPFC-TMS selectively affected IAT on food, increasing implicit preference for tasty than tasteless food, only in a subgroup of participants who did not show extreme explicit evaluation for tasty and tasteless food. This demonstrates that mPFC has a critical causal role in monitoring food preference and highlights the relevance of considering individual differences in studying food representation and neural mechanisms associated with eating behaviour. Copyright © 2015. Published by Elsevier Ltd.
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