MR-Spectroscopy of GABA and Glutamate/Glutamine Concentrations in Auditory Cortex in Clinical High-Risk for Psychosis Individuals

Tineke Grent-'t-Jong, Ruchika Gajwani, Joachim Gross, Andrew I Gumley, Stephen M Lawrie, Matthias Schwannauer, Frauke Schultze-Lutter, Stephen R Williams, Peter J Uhlhaas

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Psychosis involves changes in GABAergic and glutamatergic neurotransmission in auditory cortex that could be important for understanding sensory deficits and symptoms of psychosis. However, it is currently unclear whether such deficits are present in participants at clinical high-risk for psychosis (CHR-P) and whether they are associated with clinical outcomes. Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy (MEGAPRESS, 1H-MRS at 3 Tesla) was used to estimate GABA, glutamate, and glutamate-plus-glutamine (Glx) levels in auditory cortex in a large sample of CHR-P ( n = 99), CHR-N (clinical high-risk negative, n = 32), and 45 healthy controls. Examined were group differences in metabolite concentrations as well as relationships with clinical symptoms, general cognition, and 1-year follow-up clinical and general functioning in the CHR-P group. Results showed a marginal ( p = 0.039) main group effect only for Glx, but not for GABA and glutamate concentrations, and only in left, not right, auditory cortex. This effect did not survive multiple comparison correction, however. Exploratory post-hoc tests revealed that there were significantly lower Glx levels ( p = 0.029, uncorrected) in the CHR-P compared to the CHR-N group, but not relative to healthy controls ( p = 0.058, uncorrected). Glx levels correlated with the severity of perceptual abnormalities and disorganized speech scores. However, in the CHR-P group, Glx levels did not predict clinical or functional outcomes. Accordingly, the findings from the present study suggest that MRS-measured GABA, glutamate and Glx levels in auditory cortex of CHR-P individuals are largely intact.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)859322
JournalFrontiers in psychiatry
Publication statusPublished - 29 Mar 2022


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