Striatal volumes as potential biomarkers in Eating Disorders: A pilot study

Rev Psiquiatr Salud Ment (Engl Ed). 2022 Apr-Jun;15(2):65-73. doi: 10.1016/j.rpsmen.2022.06.003.


Introduction: Differences in bulimic and impulsive behaviours in Eating Disorders (ED) have been associated with cortico-striatal circuit dysfunction at a neurobiological level. We sought to investigate neo-striatal volume as a biomarker in ED subgroups as well as the possible relationship with trauma history.

Material and methods: We studied 24 female patients: Anorexia Nervosa AN (n=8), Bulimia Nervosa BN (n=9), comorbid ED with borderline personality disorder (EDc; n=7), and a group of Healthy Controls (n=19). Binge eating behaviours and impulsivity scales were used to characterize our sample as well as Trauma Questionnaires and Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) volumetric manual measurements of caudate and putamen nuclei (striatum).

Results: Our preliminary results showed a significantly larger left putaminal volume in AN compared to the other three groups [C (p=0.008), BN (p<.001) and EDc (p=.001)] and a smaller right putaminal volume in EDc compared to controls (p=.045) and AN (p=.039). Some negative correlations were found between bilateral putaminal volumes and self-reported general and early traumatization scores.

Conclusion: This pilot study suggested that striatal volumes might differentiate AN from BN and EDc at a neurobiological level with implications for treatment strategies. Larger scale studies should be carried out that allow replication of these data.

Keywords: Eating disorders; Impulsividad; Impulsivity; Magnetic resonance imaging; Neuroimagen; Neuroimaging; Resonancia magnética; Trastornos de conducta alimentaria; Trauma.

MeSH terms

  • Anorexia Nervosa* / complications
  • Anorexia Nervosa* / diagnostic imaging
  • Biomarkers
  • Bulimia Nervosa* / complications
  • Bulimia Nervosa* / diagnostic imaging
  • Feeding and Eating Disorders* / diagnostic imaging
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Pilot Projects


  • Biomarkers