A massive but reversible reduction of cortical thickness and subcortical gray matter (GM) volumes in Anorexia Nervosa (AN) has been recently reported. However, the literature on alterations in white matter (WM) volume and microstructure changes in both acutely underweight AN (acAN) and after recovery (recAN) is sparse and results are inconclusive. Here, T1-weighted and diffusion-weighted MRI data in a sizable sample of young and medication-free acAN (n = 35), recAN (n = 32), and age-matched female healthy controls (HC, n = 62) were obtained. For analysis, a well-validated global probabilistic tractography reconstruction algorithm including rigorous motion correction implemented in FreeSurfer: TRACULA (TRActs Constrained by UnderLying Anatomy) were used. Additionally, a clustering algorithm and a multivariate pattern classification technique to WM metrics to predict group membership were applied. No group differences in either WM volume or WM microstructure were detected with standard analysis procedures either in acAN or recAN relative to HC after controlling for the number of performed statistical tests. These findings were not affected by age, IQ, or psychiatric symptoms. While cluster analysis was unsuccessful at discriminating between groups, multivariate pattern classification showed some ability to separate acAN from HC (but not recAN from HC). However, these results were not compatible with a straightforward hypothesis of impaired WM microstructure. The current findings suggest that WM integrity is largely preserved in non-chronic AN. This finding stands in contrast to findings in GM, but may help to explain the relatively intact cognitive performance of young patients with AN and provide the basis for the fast recovery of GM structures. Hum Brain Mapp 37:4069–4083, 2016. © 2016 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

Additional Metadata
Keywords anorexia nervosa, diffusion tensor imaging, fractional anisotropy, machine learning algorithm, tractography
Persistent URL dx.doi.org/10.1002/hbm.23296, hdl.handle.net/1765/93617
Journal Human Brain Mapping
Pfuhl, G, King, J.A, Geisler, D, Roschinski, B, Ritschel, F, Seidel, M, … Ehrlich, S.M. (2016). Preserved white matter microstructure in young patients with anorexia nervosa?. Human Brain Mapping, 37(11), 4069–4083. doi:10.1002/hbm.23296