Glutamate as a mediating transmitter for auditory hallucinations in schizophrenia: A 1H MRS study

Research Area: Research Year: 2015
Type of Publication: Article Keywords: MR; glutamate; MR spectroscopy; schizophrenia; auditory hallucinations
Authors: Hugdahl, Kenneth; Craven, Alexander R.; Nygård, Merethe; Løberg, Else-Marie; Berle, Jan Øystein; Johnsen, Erik; Kroken, Rune; Specht, Karsten; Andreassen, Ole A.; Ersland, Lars
This is a 1H MR spectroscopy (MRS) study of glutamate (Glu), measured as Glx, levels in temporal and frontal lobe regions in patients with schizophrenia compared with a healthy control group with the objective of revealing as- pects of the underlying neurochemistry of auditory hallucinations. We further compared and correlated Glu(Glx) levels for the patients-only against frequency and severity of auditory hallucinations and the sum of Positive symptoms, and also for frequency and severity of emotional withdrawal, and sum of Negative symptoms. The sample included 23 patients with an ICD-10 and DSM-IV diagnosis of schizophrenia, and 26 healthy control sub- jects without any known psychiatric or neurological disorders. Symptom scores were obtained from the Positive and Negative Syndrome Scale (PANSS). 1H MRS data were acquired on a 3 T MR scanner from two temporal and two frontal voxels, using standard sequences and analysis parameters. The results showed that schizophrenia pa- tients as a group had reduced Glu(Glx) levels in the voxels of interest compared to the healthy control subjects, while increased levels were found for patients with frequent and severe auditory hallucinations, relative to pa- tients with less frequent and severe hallucination. We further found significant positive correlations between fre- quency and severity of auditory hallucinations, and for sum Positive symptoms, and Glu(Glx) levels in all regions, not seen when the analysis was done for negative symptoms. It is concluded that the results show for the first time that glutamate may be a mediating factor in auditory hallucinations in schizophrenia.
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