Purpose: The neurophysiological and neuromorphological changes in patients with anorexia nervosa (AN) are well-known but the reason of both is still unknown. We have evaluated the usefulness of hydrogen (H1) magnetic resonance spectroscopy in anorexia nervosa.
Method: We investigated 15 patients with clinically diagnosed AN (ICD F50.0) and 17 controls without eating disorders. The body mass index (BMI) was 15.8 and 21, respectively. The spectroscopy was recorded on two voxels in the parieto-occipital white matter or in the thalamus with a water-suppressed STEAM-sequence. The metabolites were recorded with respect to phosphocreatine (PCr).
Results: The ratio of NAA/PCr in both voxels were not significantly different when comparing patients vs. controls. Patients showed significantly higher ratios of choline-containing components (Cho) or, respectively Cho/PCr and NAA/PCr in the white matter. Distinct, but not significant differences were detected both for m-Ino and m-Ino/PCr in the parieto-occipital region and for the Cho- and m-Ino contained ratios in the thalamus.
Conclusion: AN is not associated with neuronal damage. The ratio of Cho/PCr and NAA/Cho may reflect the disturbance of membrane-turnover. It is possible that the increase of membrane catabolism leads to a hyperosmolar state. The change of m-Ino/PCr ratio may reflect the regulation of osmolarity.