Skip to main content

Research Repository

Advanced Search

White matter microstructural changes in adolescent anorexia nervosa including an exploratory longitudinal study

Vogel, Katja; Timmers, Inge; Kumar, Vinod; Nickl-Jockschat, Thomas; Bastiani, Matteo; Roebroek, Alard; Herpertz-Dahlmann, Beate; Konrad, Kerstin; Goebel, Rainer; Seitz, Jochen


Katja Vogel

Inge Timmers

Vinod Kumar

Thomas Nickl-Jockschat

Matteo Bastiani

Alard Roebroek

Beate Herpertz-Dahlmann

Kerstin Konrad

Rainer Goebel

Jochen Seitz



Anorexia nervosa (AN) often begins in adolescence, however, the understanding of the underlying pathophysiology at this developmentally important age is scarce, impeding early interventions. We used diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) to investigate microstructural white matter (WM) brain changes including an experimental longitudinal follow-up.


We acquired whole brain diffusion-weighted brain scans of 22 adolescent female hospitalized patients with AN at admission and nine patients longitudinally at discharge after weight rehabilitation. Patients (10–18 years) were compared to 21 typically developing controls (TD). Tract-based spatial statistics (TBSS) were applied to compare fractional anisotropy (FA) across groups and time points. Associations between average FA values of the global WM skeleton and weight as well as illness duration parameters were analyzed by multiple linear regression.


We observed increased FA in bilateral frontal, parietal and temporal areas in AN patients at admission compared to TD. Higher FA of the global WM skeleton at admission was associated with faster weight loss prior to admission. Exploratory longitudinal analysis showed this FA increase to be partially normalized after weight rehabilitation.


Our findings reveal a markedly different pattern of WM microstructural changes in adolescent AN compared to most previous results in adult AN. This could signify a different susceptibility and reaction to semi-starvation in the still developing brain of adolescents or a time-dependent pathomechanism differing with extend of chronicity. Higher FA at admission in adolescents with AN could point to WM fibers being packed together more closely.


Vogel, K., Timmers, I., Kumar, V., Nickl-Jockschat, T., Bastiani, M., Roebroek, A., …Seitz, J. (2016). White matter microstructural changes in adolescent anorexia nervosa including an exploratory longitudinal study. NeuroImage: Clinical, 11, 614-621.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Apr 5, 2016
Online Publication Date Apr 12, 2016
Publication Date 2016
Deposit Date Oct 15, 2018
Publicly Available Date Oct 15, 2018
Journal NeuroImage: Clinical
Publisher Elsevier
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 11
Pages 614-621
Keywords Cognitive Neuroscience; Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging; Neurology; Clinical Neurology
Public URL
Publisher URL
Additional Information This article is maintained by: Elsevier; Article Title: White matter microstructural changes in adolescent anorexia nervosa including an exploratory longitudinal study; Journal Title: NeuroImage: Clinical; CrossRef DOI link to publisher maintained version:; Content Type: article; Copyright: © 2016 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Inc.


You might also like

Downloadable Citations