Anterior cingulate Glutamate-Glutamine cycle metabolites are altered in euthymic bipolar I disorder

Márcio Gerhardt Soeiro-de-Souza, Anke Henning, Rodrigo Machado-Vieira, Ricardo A. Moreno, Bruno F. Pastorello, Cláudia da Costa Leite, Homero Vallada, Maria Concepcion Garcia Otaduy

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43 Scopus citations


Bipolar disorder (BD) has been consistently associated with abnormalities in the Glutamate/GABA-Glutamine cycle. Magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS) studies have reported increased brain Glutamate (Glu) and Glx (Glu+Glutamine) in subjects with BD. However, data on separate measures of GABA and Glutamine (Gln) in BD are sparse due to overlapping resonant signals. The development of new sequence methods in the quantification of these metabolites has allowed a better understanding of the Glu/GABA-Gln cycle but data on this field of research remains sparse in BD. Eighty-eight subjects (50 euthymic BD and 38 HC) underwent 3T proton magnetic resonance spectroscopy (1H MRS) in the anterior cingulate cortex (ACC; 2×2×4.5cm3) using a two-dimensional JPRESS sequence. GABA, Glutamine (Gln) and Glutamate (Glu) were quantified with the ProFit program. Using image segmentation and known creatine (Cre) concentrations for white and grey matter, metabolite concentrations were calculated for the excited MRS voxel. GABA levels did not differ between groups. Gln level was higher in euthymic BD patients than in healthy controls. The Glu level and Glu/Gln ratio were lower in BD patients than in controls. The use of anticonvulsants was associated with Gln increase but did not affect Glu or Glu/Gln. Neither lithium nor antipsychotic use influenced metabolite levels. The ACC MRS findings indicate that the glutamatergic function in euthymic medicated BD patients is altered relative to controls. Whether this feature is a metabolic signature of euthymic BD subjects should be the focus of future studies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2221-2229
Number of pages9
JournalEuropean Neuropsychopharmacology
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 1 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • Bipolar
  • GABA
  • Glutamate
  • Glutamine
  • Spectroscopy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology
  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Biological Psychiatry
  • Pharmacology (medical)


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