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J Psychiatr Res. 2017 Jul;90:94-101. doi: 10.1016/j.jpsychires.2017.02.013. Epub 2017 Feb 21.

Altered processing of rewarding and aversive basic taste stimuli in symptomatic women with anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa: An fMRI study.

Author information

1
Department of Psychiatry, University of Naples SUN, Naples, Italy.
2
Department of Psychiatry, University of Naples SUN, Naples, Italy; Department of Medicine, Surgery and Dentistry "Scuola Medica Salernitana", Section of Neurosciences, University of Salerno, Salerno, Italy. Electronic address: monteri@tin.it.
3
Department of Medicine, Surgery and Dentistry "Scuola Medica Salernitana", Section of Neurosciences, University of Salerno, Salerno, Italy.
4
Biostructure and Bioimaging Institute, National Research Council, Naples, Italy.
5
Department of Neuroscience, Reproductive and Dentistry Science, ENT Unit; "Federico II" University, Naples, Italy.
6
Department of Mental Health, A.S.L. NA1, Naples, Italy.
7
IRCCS SDN Istituto di Ricerca, Naples, Italy.

Abstract

Functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) studies have displayed a dysregulation in the way in which the brain processes pleasant taste stimuli in patients with anorexia nervosa (AN) and bulimia nervosa (BN). However, exactly how the brain processes disgusting basic taste stimuli has never been investigated, even though disgust plays a role in food intake modulation and AN and BN patients exhibit high disgust sensitivity. Therefore, we investigated the activation of brain areas following the administration of pleasant and aversive basic taste stimuli in symptomatic AN and BN patients compared to healthy subjects. Twenty underweight AN women, 20 symptomatic BN women and 20 healthy women underwent fMRI while tasting 0.292 M sucrose solution (sweet taste), 0.5 mM quinine hydrochloride solution (bitter taste) and water as a reference taste. In symptomatic AN and BN patients the pleasant sweet stimulus induced a higher activation in several brain areas than that induced by the aversive bitter taste. The opposite occurred in healthy controls. Moreover, compared to healthy controls, AN patients showed a decreased response to the bitter stimulus in the right amygdala and left anterior cingulate cortex, while BN patients showed a decreased response to the bitter stimulus in the right amygdala and left insula. These results show an altered processing of rewarding and aversive taste stimuli in ED patients, which may be relevant for understanding the pathophysiology of AN and BN.

KEYWORDS:

Anorexia nervosa; Bulimia nervosa; Disgust; Reward; Taste; fMRI

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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