Increased resting state functional connectivity in the default mode network in recovered anorexia nervosa.
Cowdrey FA., Filippini N., Park RJ., Smith SM., McCabe C.
Functional brain imaging studies have shown abnormal neural activity in individuals recovered from anorexia nervosa (AN) during both cognitive and emotional task paradigms. It has been suggested that this abnormal activity which persists into recovery might underpin the neurobiology of the disorder and constitute a neural biomarker for AN. However, no study to date has assessed functional changes in neural networks in the absence of task-induced activity in those recovered from AN. Therefore, the aim of this study was to investigate whole brain resting state functional connectivity in nonmedicated women recovered from anorexia nervosa. Functional magnetic resonance imaging scans were obtained from 16 nonmedicated participants recovered from anorexia nervosa and 15 healthy control participants. Independent component analysis revealed functionally relevant resting state networks. Dual regression analysis revealed increased temporal correlation (coherence) in the default mode network (DMN) which is thought to be involved in self-referential processing. Specifically, compared to healthy control participants the recovered anorexia nervosa participants showed increased temporal coherence between the DMN and the precuneus and the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex/inferior frontal gyrus. The findings support the view that dysfunction in resting state functional connectivity in regions involved in self-referential processing and cognitive control might be a vulnerability marker for the development of anorexia nervosa.