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eISSN: 1643-3750

Convergent dysregulation of frontal cortical cognitive and reward systems in eating disorders

George B. Stefano, Radek Ptáček, Hana Kuželová, Kirk J. Mantione, Jiří Raboch, Hana Papezova, Richard M. Kream

Med Sci Monit 2013; 19:353-358

DOI: 10.12659/MSM.889133

Published: 2013-05-10


A substantive literature has drawn a compelling case for the functional involvement of mesolimbic/prefrontal cortical neural reward systems in normative control of eating and in the etiology and persistence of severe eating disorders that affect diverse human populations. Presently, we provide a short review that develops an equally compelling case for the importance of dysregulated frontal cortical cognitive neural networks acting in concert with regional reward systems in the regulation of complex eating behaviors and in the presentation of complex pathophysiological symptoms associated with major eating disorders. Our goal is to highlight working models of major eating disorders that incorporate complementary approaches to elucidate functionally interactive neural circuits defined by their regulatory neurochemical phenotypes. Importantly, we also review evidence-based linkages between widely studied psychiatric and neurodegenerative syndromes (e.g., autism spectrum disorders and Parkinson’s disease) and co-morbid eating disorders to elucidate basic mechanisms involving dopaminergic transmission and its regulation by endogenously expressed morphine in these same cortical regions.

Keywords: Reward, Prefrontal Cortex - physiopathology, Phenotype, Humans, Eating Disorders - physiopathology, Cognition - physiology, Synaptic Transmission - physiology



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