Cortical thinning and associated connectivity changes in patients with anorexia nervosa

Feliberto de la Cruz, Andy Schumann, Stefanie Suttkus, Nadin Helbing, Regine Zopf, Karl Jürgen Bär*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)
17 Downloads (Pure)


Structural brain abnormalities are a consistent finding in anorexia nervosa (AN) and proposed as a state biomarker of the disorder. Yet little is known about how regional structural changes affect intrinsic resting-state functional brain connectivity (rsFC). Using a cross-sectional, multimodal imaging approach, we investigated the association between regional cortical thickness abnormalities and rsFC in AN. Twenty-two acute AN patients and twenty-six age- and gender-matched healthy controls underwent a resting-state functional magnetic resonance imaging scan and cognitive tests. We performed group comparisons of whole-brain cortical thickness, seed-based rsFC, and network-based statistical (NBS) analyses. AN patients showed cortical thinning in the precuneus and inferior parietal lobules, regions involved in visuospatial memory and imagery. Cortical thickness in the precuneus correlated with nutritional state and cognitive functions in AN, strengthening the evidence for a critical role of this region in the disorder. Cortical thinning was accompanied by functional connectivity reductions in major brain networks, namely default mode, sensorimotor and visual networks. Similar to the seed-based approach, the NBS analysis revealed a single network of reduced functional connectivity in patients, comprising mainly sensorimotor- occipital regions. Our findings provide evidence that structural and functional brain abnormalities in AN are confined to specific regions and networks involved in visuospatial and somatosensory processing. We show that structural changes of the precuneus are linked to nutritional and functional states in AN, and future longitudinal research should assess how precuneus changes might be related to the evolution of the disorder.

Original languageEnglish
Article number95
Pages (from-to)1-12
Number of pages12
JournalTranslational Psychiatry
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 4 Feb 2021

Bibliographical note

Copyright the Author(s) 2021. Version archived for private and non-commercial use with the permission of the author/s and according to publisher conditions. For further rights please contact the publisher.


Dive into the research topics of 'Cortical thinning and associated connectivity changes in patients with anorexia nervosa'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this