European Radiology

, Volume 27, Issue 12, pp 5064–5072 | Cite as

Evaluating anorexia-related brain atrophy using MP2RAGE-based morphometry

  • José Boto
  • Georgios Gkinis
  • Alexis Roche
  • Tobias Kober
  • Bénédicte Maréchal
  • Nadia Ortiz
  • Karl-Olof Lövblad
  • François Lazeyras
  • Maria Isabel Vargas



To evaluate brain atrophy in anorexic patients by automated cerebral segmentation with the magnetization-prepared 2 rapid acquisition gradient echo (MP2RAGE) MRI sequence.

Material and methods

Twenty patients (female; mean age, 27.9 years), presenting consecutively for brain MRI between August 2014–December 2016 with clinical suspicion of anorexia nervosa and BMI<18.5 kg/m2 were included. Controls were ten healthy females (mean age, 26.5 years). Automated brain morphometry was performed based on MP2RAGE. Means of morphometric results in the two groups were compared and correlation with BMI was analysed.


Significantly lower volumes of total brain, grey matter (GM), white matter (WM), cerebellum and insula were found in anorexic patients. Anorexics had higher volumes of CSF, ventricles, lateral ventricles and third ventricle. When adjusted means for weight and height were compared, the volume of WM and cerebellum were not significantly different. However, volume of WM was significantly affected by weight and positively correlated with BMI. Significant positive correlations were found between BMI and volumes of total brain, GM, cortical GM and WM. BMI was negatively correlated with volumes of CSF and third ventricle.


Brain atrophy was demonstrated in anorexic patients with MP2RAGE-based automated segmentation, which seems to reliably estimate brain volume.

Key points

Automated brain segmentation based on 3-D MRI seems to reliably estimate brain volume.

This technique detected brain atrophy in patients suffering from anorexia nervosa.

Brain changes in anorexia nervosa can be quantitatively and qualitatively followed-up by MRI.


Anorexia nervosa Brain Atrophy Magnetic resonance imaging 3-D imaging 



Anorexia nervosa


Body mass index


Cerebrospinal fluid


Computed tomography


Grey matter


Magnetic resonance imaging


Magnetization-prepared rapid acquisition gradient echo


Magnetization-prepared 2 rapid acquisition gradient echo


Total intracranial volume


White matter


Compliance with ethical standards


The scientific guarantor of this publication is Dr Maria Isabel Vargas.

Conflict of interest

The authors of this manuscript declare relationships with the following companies: Siemens Healthcare.


The authors state that this work has not received any funding.

Statistics and biometry

No complex statistical methods were necessary for this paper.

Informed consent

Written informed consent was waived by the Institutional Review Board.

Ethical approval

Institutional Review Board approval was obtained.


• retrospective

• case-control study

• performed at one institution


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Copyright information

© European Society of Radiology 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • José Boto
    • 1
  • Georgios Gkinis
    • 2
  • Alexis Roche
    • 3
    • 4
    • 5
  • Tobias Kober
    • 3
    • 4
    • 5
  • Bénédicte Maréchal
    • 3
    • 4
    • 5
  • Nadia Ortiz
    • 2
  • Karl-Olof Lövblad
    • 1
  • François Lazeyras
    • 6
  • Maria Isabel Vargas
    • 1
  1. 1.Division of NeuroradiologyGeneva University Hospital and Faculty of Medicine of GenevaGenevaSwitzerland
  2. 2.Department of Mental Health and PsychiatryGeneva University HospitalsGenevaSwitzerland
  3. 3.Advanced Clinical Imaging TechnologySiemens Healthcare HC CEMEA SUI DI BM PI, Siemens ACITLausanneSwitzerland
  4. 4.Department of RadiologyUniversity Hospital (CHUV)LausanneSwitzerland
  5. 5.LausanneSwitzerland
  6. 6.Division of RadiologyGeneva University Hospital and Faculty of Medicine of GenevaGenevaSwitzerland

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