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Article contents

Sweet and bitter taste perception in anorexia nervosa: A functional MRI study

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  23 March 2020

A.M. Monteleone
Affiliation:
Second University of Naples, Department of Psychiatry, Naples, Italy
F. Esposito
Affiliation:
University of Salerno, Neuroscience Section, Department of Medicine and Surgery, Salerno, Italy
A. Prinster
Affiliation:
National Research Council, Biostructure and Bioimaging Institute, Naples, Italy
E. Cantone
Affiliation:
Federico II University, ENT Department, Naples, Italy
A. Canna
Affiliation:
National Research Council, Biostructure and Bioimaging Institute, Naples, Italy
F. Pellegrino
Affiliation:
Second University of Naples, Department of Psychiatry, Naples, Italy
M. Nigro
Affiliation:
Second University of Naples, Department of Psychiatry, Naples, Italy
R. Amodio
Affiliation:
Second University of Naples, Department of Psychiatry, Naples, Italy
U. Volpe
Affiliation:
Second University of Naples, Department of Psychiatry, Naples, Italy
F. Di Salle
Affiliation:
University of Salerno, Neuroscience Section, Department of Medicine and Surgery, Salerno, Italy
P. Monteleone
Affiliation:
University of Salerno, Neuroscience Section, Department of Medicine and Surgery, Salerno, Italy
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Abstract

Introduction

Taste perception is a complex phenomenon modulated by different factors, such as taste receptors and memory brain circuits. The palatability of the food, that activates the central reward pathways, also plays an important role in taste perception. It means that taste is able to influence the choice of food and then eating behaviour.

Objectives

It is well known that people with anorexia nervosa (AN) have a lower sensitivity to reward stimuli and recent studies suggested that altered function of taste neural circuitry may contribute to restricted eating in AN.

Aims

The aim of this study was to evaluate, in patients suffering from AN, the activation of brain areas involved in taste perception and in central reward mechanisms to both pleasant and aversive taste stimuli and to correlate gustatory neurocircuitry activity with eating behaviours, temperament measures and/or sensitivity to reward and to punishment.

Methods

Fifteen underweight female AN patients and sixteen normal-weight healthy women underwent a functional MRI to measure brain areas activation to repeated stimuli of a pleasant taste (sucrose solution), alternated with an aversive taste (bitter solution), and water taste.

Results

Compared to healthy controls, patients with AN showed a significantly reduced activation of left insula and left dorsolateral prefrontal cortex to sweet stimulus and reduced activation of right parietal cortex to bitter stimulus.

Conclusions

These results, if confirmed in future studies, may improve our knowledge about the pathophysiological mechanisms of AN.

Disclosure of interest

The authors have not supplied their declaration of competing interest.

Type
EW349
Copyright
Copyright © European Psychiatric Association 2016

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