Neurobiological features of binge eating disorder

CNS Spectr. 2015 Dec;20(6):557-65. doi: 10.1017/S1092852915000814. Epub 2015 Nov 4.


Biobehavioral features associated with binge-eating disorder (BED) have been investigated; however, few systematic reviews to date have described neuroimaging findings from studies of BED. Emerging functional and structural studies support BED as having unique and overlapping neural features as compared with other disorders. Neuroimaging studies provide evidence linking heightened responses to palatable food cues with prefrontal areas, particularly the orbitofrontal cortex (OFC), with specific relationships to hunger and reward-sensitivity measures. While few studies to date have investigated non-food-cue responses; these suggest a generalized hypofunctioning in frontostriatal areas during reward and inhibitory control processes. Early studies applying neuroimaging to treatment efforts suggest that targeting neural function underlying motivational processes may prove important in the treatment of BED.

Keywords: Binge eating disorder; food cues; neuroimaging; obesity; orbitofrontal cortex; reward processing; ventral striatum.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Binge-Eating Disorder / physiopathology*
  • Brain / physiopathology*
  • Cues
  • Humans
  • Neuroimaging
  • Reward