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1.  GABA level, gamma oscillation, and working memory performance in schizophrenia 
NeuroImage : Clinical  2014;4:531-539.
A relationship between working memory impairment, disordered neuronal oscillations, and abnormal prefrontal GABA function has been hypothesized in schizophrenia; however, in vivo GABA measurements and gamma band neural synchrony have not yet been compared in schizophrenia. This case–control pilot study (N = 24) compared baseline and working memory task-induced neuronal oscillations acquired with high-density electroencephalograms (EEGs) to GABA levels measured in vivo with magnetic resonance spectroscopy. Working memory performance, baseline GABA level in the left dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC), and measures of gamma oscillations from EEGs at baseline and during a working memory task were obtained. A major limitation of this study is a relatively small sample size for several analyses due to the integration of diverse methodologies and participant compliance. Working memory performance was significantly lower for patients than for controls. During the working memory task, patients (n = 7) had significantly lower amplitudes in gamma oscillations than controls (n = 9). However, both at rest and across working memory stages, there were significant correlations between gamma oscillation amplitude and left DLPFC GABA level. Peak gamma frequency during the encoding stage of the working memory task (n = 16) significantly correlated with GABA level and working memory performance. Despite gamma band amplitude deficits in patients across working memory stages, both baseline and working memory-induced gamma oscillations showed strong dependence on baseline GABA levels in patients and controls. These findings suggest a critical role for GABA function in gamma band oscillations, even under conditions of system and cognitive impairments as seen in schizophrenia.
Highlights
•We compared in vivo GABA measures and gamma band oscillations in schizophrenia.•Correlations between left DLPFC GABA and gamma amplitude were significant.•Peak gamma frequency significantly correlated with GABA and performance.•Patients had significantly lower amplitudes in gamma oscillations than controls.•Working memory performance was significantly lower for patients than for controls.
doi:10.1016/j.nicl.2014.03.007
PMCID: PMC3989525  PMID: 24749063
Schizophrenia; Magnetic resonance spectroscopy; GABA; Gamma oscillation; Dorsolateral prefrontal cortex; Working memory
2.  Imaging glutamate homeostasis in cocaine addiction with the mGluR5 PET radiotracer [11C]ABP688 and Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy 
Biological psychiatry  2013;75(2):165-171.
Background
Preclinical studies demonstrate that glutamate homeostasis in the striatum is disrupted following cocaine exposure, including a decrease in metabotropic glutamate receptor type 5 (mGluR5) expression and reduced glutamate turnover. The goal of this study was to use imaging of the human brain to investigate alterations in the glutamate signaling in cocaine addiction.
Methods
Positron Emission tomography (PET) imaging with the radiotracer [11C]ABP688 was used to measure mGluR5 binding and magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS) was used to measure glutamate-glutamine levels in the striatum of cocaine addicted participants (n=15) compared to healthy controls (n=15). Following the scans, the cocaine addicted volunteers performed cocaine self-administration sessions in order to investigate the correlation between cocaine seeking behavior and mGluR5 receptor binding.
Results
The results of the study showed that cocaine addiction was associated with a 20–22% reduction in [11C]ABP688 binding in the striatum. A secondary analysis of cortical and subcortical regions other than the striatum showed a similar reduction in [11C]ABP688 binding, suggesting that the decrease is widespread. No between-group differences were seen in the MRS measures of glutamate-glutamine in the left striatum. In addition, no correlation was seen between [11C]ABP688 binding in the striatum and the choice to self-administer cocaine.
Conclusions
Overall, these results show that long-term cocaine use is associated with a decrease in mGluR5 availability compared to matched healthy controls and suggests that this receptor may serve as a viable target for treatment development for this disorder.
doi:10.1016/j.biopsych.2013.06.026
PMCID: PMC4106018  PMID: 24035345
addiction; cocaine; magnetic resonance spectroscopy; positron emission tomography; metabotropic glutamate receptor 5; cocaine self-administration
3.  Early-life stress, corpus callosum development, hippocampal volumetrics, and anxious behavior in male nonhuman primates 
Psychiatry research  2011;192(1):37-44.
Male bonnet monkeys (Macaca radiata) were subjected to the Variable Foraging Demand (VFD) early stress paradigm as infants, MRI scans were completed an average of four years later, and behavioral assessments of anxiety and ex-vivo corpus callosum (CC) measurements were made when animals were fully matured. VFD rearing was associated with smaller CC size, CC measurements were found to correlate with fearful behavior in adulthood, and ex-vivo CC assessments showed high consistency with earlier MRI measures. Region of Interest (ROI) hippocampus and whole brain voxel- based morphometry assessments were also completed and VFD rearing was associated with reduced hippocampus and inferior and middle temporal gyri volumes. Animals were also characterized according to serotonin transporter genotype (5-HTTLPR), and the effect of genotype on imaging parameters was explored. The current findings highlight the importance of future research to better understand the effects of stress on brain development in multiple regions, including the corpus callosum, hippocampus, and other regions involved in emotion processing. Nonhuman primates provide a powerful model to unravel the mechanisms by which early stress and genetic makeup interact to produce long-term changes in brain development, stress reactivity, and risk for psychiatric disorders.
doi:10.1016/j.pscychresns.2010.11.006
PMCID: PMC4090111  PMID: 21377844
stress; monkeys; corpus callosum; hippocampus; brain abnormalities; 5-HTTLPR
4.  A Pilot Study of Hippocampal Volume and N-Acetylaspartate (NAA) as Response Biomarkers in Riluzole-Treated Patients with GAD 
Anxiolytic benefit following chronic treatment with the glutamate modulating agent riluzole in patients with generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) was previously associated with differential changes in hippocampal NAA concentrations. Here, we investigated the association between hippocampal volume and hippocampal NAA in the context of riluzole response in GAD. Eighteen medication-free adult patients with GAD received 8-week of open-label riluzole. Ten healthy subjects served as a comparison group. Participants underwent magnetic resonance imaging and spectroscopy at baseline and at the end of Week 8. GAD patients who completed all interventions were classified as remitters (n = 7) or non-remitters (n = 6), based on final Hamilton Anxiety Rating Scale (HAM-A) scores ≤ 7. At baseline, GAD patients had a significant reduction in total hippocampal volume compared to healthy subjects (F(1,21) = 6.55, p = 0.02). This reduction was most pronounced in the remitters, compared to non-remitters and healthy subjects. Delta (final – baseline) hippocampal volume was positively correlated with delta NAA in GAD. This positive association was highly significant in the right hippocampus in GAD [r = 0.81, p = 0.002], with no significant association in healthy subjects [Fisher r-to-z p = 0.017]. Across all GAD patients, delta hippocampal volume was positively associated with improvement in HAM-A (rspearman = 0.62, p = 0.03). These preliminary findings support hippocampal NAA and volume as neural biomarkers substantially associated with therapeutic response to a glutamatergic drug.
doi:10.1016/j.euroneuro.2012.05.009
PMCID: PMC3473175  PMID: 22739126
Riluzole; generalized anxiety disorder; biomarkers; glutamate; N-Acetylaspartate; hippocampal volume; magnetic resonance spectroscopy
5.  Increased ventricular lactate in chronic fatigue syndrome. III. Relationships to cortical glutathione and clinical symptoms implicate oxidative stress in disorder pathophysiology 
NMR in biomedicine  2012;25(9):1073-1087.
Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) is a complex illness, which is often misdiagnosed as a psychiatric illness. In two previous reports, using 1H MRSI, we found significantly higher levels of ventricular cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) lactate in patients with CFS relative to those with generalized anxiety disorder and healthy volunteers (HV), but not relative to those with major depressive disorder (MDD). In this third independent cross-sectional neuroimaging study, we investigated a pathophysiological model which postulated that elevations of CSF lactate in patients with CFS might be caused by increased oxidative stress, cerebral hypoperfusion and/or secondary mitochondrial dysfunction. Fifteen patients with CFS, 15 with MDD and 13 HVs were studied using the following modalities: (i) 1H MRSI to measure CSF lactate; (ii) single-voxel 1H MRS to measure levels of cortical glutathione (GSH) as a marker of antioxidant capacity; (iii) arterial spin labeling (ASL) MRI to measure regional cerebral blood flow (rCBF); and (iv) 31P MRSI to measure brain high-energy phosphates as objective indices of mitochondrial dysfunction. We found elevated ventricular lactate and decreased GSH in patients with CFS and MDD relative to HVs. GSH did not differ significantly between the two patient groups. In addition, we found lower rCBF in the left anterior cingulate cortex and the right lingual gyrus in patients with CFS relative to HVs, but rCBF did not differ between those with CFS and MDD. We found no differences between the three groups in terms of any high-energy phosphate metabolites. In exploratory correlation analyses, we found that levels of ventricular lactate and cortical GSH were inversely correlated, and significantly associated with several key indices of physical health and disability. Collectively, the results of this third independent study support a pathophysiological model of CFS in which increased oxidative stress may play a key role in CFS etiopathophysiology.
doi:10.1002/nbm.2772
PMCID: PMC3896084  PMID: 22281935
MRS; lactate; cerebrospinal fluid; glutathione; arterial spin labeling; cerebral blood flow; chronic fatigue syndrome; major depressive disorder
6.  Reduced hippocampal N-acetyl-aspartate (NAA) as a biomarker for overweight☆ 
NeuroImage : Clinical  2014;4:326-335.
Objective
We previously demonstrated an inverse relationship between both dentate gyrus neurogenesis – a form of neuroplasticity – and expression of the antiapoptotic gene marker, BCL-2 and adult macaque body weight. We therefore explored whether a similar inverse correlation existed in humans between body mass index (BMI) and hippocampal N-acetyl-aspartate (NAA), a marker of neuronal integrity and putatively, neuroplasticity. We also studied the relationship of a potentially neurotoxic process, worry, to hippocampal NAA in patients with generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) and control subjects (CS).
Methods
We combined two previously studied cohorts of GAD and control subjects. Using proton magnetic resonance spectroscopy imaging (1H MRSI) in medication-free patients with GAD (n = 29) and a matched healthy control group (n = 22), we determined hippocampal concentrations of (1) NAA (2) choline containing compounds (CHO), and (3) Creatine + phosphocreatine (CR). Data were combined from 1.5 T and 3 T scans by converting values from each cohort to z-scores. Overweight and GAD diagnosis were used as categorical variables while the Penn State Worry Questionnaire (PSWQ) and Anxiety Sensitivity Index (ASI) were used as dependent variables.
Results
Overweight subjects (BMI ≥ 25) exhibited lower NAA levels in the hippocampus than normal-weight subjects (BMI < 25) (partial Eta-squared = 0.14) controlling for age, sex and psychiatric diagnosis, and the effect was significant for the right hippocampus in both GAD patients and control subjects. An inverse linear correlation was noted in all subjects between right hippocampal NAA and BMI. High scores on the PSWQ predicted low hippocampal NAA and CR. Both BMI and worry were independent inverse predictors of hippocampal NAA.
Conclusion
Overweight was associated with reduced NAA concentrations in the hippocampus with a strong effect size. Future mechanistic studies are warranted.
Highlights
•Overweight people show reduced concentrations of hippocampal N-acetylaspartate (NAA).•Reduced NAA reflects reduced neuronal viability.•There is an inverse relationship between BMI and hippocampal NAA.•Worry scores are independently associated with lower NAA.•Generalized anxiety disorder did not show low hippocampal NAA.
doi:10.1016/j.nicl.2013.12.014
PMCID: PMC3913836  PMID: 24501701
Body mass index; Generalized anxiety disorder; Penn State Worry Questionnaire; Neuronal integrity; Creatine (CR); Obesity
7.  Riluzole Effect on Occipital Cortex: A Structural and Spectroscopy Pilot Study 
Neuroscience letters  2012;530(1):103-107.
Background
To investigate the mechanism underlying the anxiolytic properties of riluzole, a glutamate-modulating agent, we previously studied the effect of this drug on hippocampal N-Acetylaspartate (NAA) and volume in patients with Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD). In the same cohort, we now extend our investigation to the occipital cortex, a brain region that was recently implicated in the antidepressant effect of riluzole.
Methods
Fourteen medication-free adult patients with GAD received 8-week of open-label riluzole. Ten healthy subjects served as a comparison group. The healthy group did not receive riluzole treatment. Both groups underwent magnetic resonance imaging and spectroscopy at baseline and at the end of Week 8. Hamilton Anxiety Rating Scale (HAM-A) and Penn State Worry Questionnaire (PSWQ) were used as the primary and secondary outcome measures, respectively.
Results
At baseline, we found clusters of increased cortical thickness in the occipital region in GAD compared to healthy subjects. In the right hemisphere, eight weeks of treatment reduced occipital cortical thickness in the GAD group (t = 3.67, p = 0.004). In addition, the improvement in HAM-A scores was negatively correlated with post-treatment right occipital NAA (r = − 0.68, p = 0.008), and with changes in NAA levels (r = − 0.53, p = 0.051). In the left hemisphere, we found positive associations between changes in occipital cortical thickness and improvement in HAM-A (r = 0.60, p = 0.04) and PSWQ (r = 0.62, p = 0.03).
Conclusion
These pilot findings implicate the occipital cortex as a brain region associated with pathology and clinical improvement in GAD. In addition, the region specific effect of riluzole implies a distinct pathophysiology in the occipital cortex – compared to other, previously studied, frontolimbic brain structures.
doi:10.1016/j.neulet.2012.09.054
PMCID: PMC3490039  PMID: 23043888
Riluzole; generalized anxiety disorder; biomarkers; glutamate; N-Acetylaspartate; occipital cortex; magnetic resonance spectroscopy; structural MRI
8.  Investigation of Cortical Glutamate–Glutamine and γ-Aminobutyric Acid in Obsessive–Compulsive Disorder by Proton Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy 
Neuropsychopharmacology  2012;37(12):2684-2692.
Glutamatergic abnormalities in corticostriatal brain circuits are thought to underlie obsessive–compulsive disorder (OCD). Whether these abnormalities exist in adults with OCD is not clear. We used proton magnetic resonance spectroscopy (1H MRS) to test our hypothesis that unmedicated adults with OCD have reduced glutamate plus glutamine (Glx) levels in the medial prefrontal cortex (MPFC) compared with healthy controls. Levels of γ-aminobutyric acid (GABA) were also explored. Twenty-four unmedicated adults with OCD and 22 matched healthy control subjects underwent 1H MRS scans at 3.0 T. Resonances of both Glx and GABA were obtained using the standard J-editing technique and assessed as ratios relative to voxel tissue water (W) in the MPFC (the region of interest) and the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC) to explore the regional specificity of any finding. In the MPFC, Glx/W did not differ by diagnostic group (p=0.98) or sex (p=0.57). However, GABA/W was decreased in OCD (2.16±0.46 × 10−3) compared with healthy controls (2.43±0.45 × 10−3, p=0.045); moreover, age of OCD onset was inversely correlated with MPFC GABA/W (r=−0.50, p=0.015). MPFC GABA/W was higher in females than in males. In the DLPFC, there were no main effects of diagnosis or gender on Glx/W or GABA/W. These data indicate that unmedicated adults with OCD do not have Glx abnormalities in a MPFC voxel that includes the pregenual anterior cingulate cortex. However, they may have decreased MPFC GABA levels. How GABA abnormalities might contribute to corticostriatal dysfunction in OCD deserves further study.
doi:10.1038/npp.2012.132
PMCID: PMC3473334  PMID: 22850733
OCD; GABA; Glx; anterior cingulate cortex; dorsolateral prefrontal cortex; medial prefrontal cortex; magnetic resonance spectroscopy; anterior cingulated cortex; biological psychiatry; GABA; glutamate; imaging; clinical or preclinical; magnetic resonance spectroscopy; OCD
9.  Anterior Cingulate Cortex γ-Aminobutyric Acid in Depressed Adolescents 
Archives of general psychiatry  2011;69(2):139-149.
Context
Anhedonia, a core symptom of major depressive disorder (MDD) and highly variable among adolescents with MDD, may involve alterations in the major inhibitory amino acid neurotransmitter system of γ-aminobutyric acid (GABA).
Objective
To test whether anterior cingulate cortex (ACC) GABA levels, measured by proton magnetic resonance spectroscopy, are decreased in adolescents with MDD. The associations of GABA alterations with the presence and severity of anhedonia were explored.
Design
Case-control, cross-sectional study using single-voxel proton magnetic resonance spectroscopy at 3 T.
Setting
Two clinical research divisions at 2 teaching hospitals.
Participants
Twenty psychotropic medication-free adolescents with MDD (10 anhedonic, 12 female, aged 12–19 years) with episode duration of 8 weeks or more and 21 control subjects group matched for sex and age.
Main Outcome Measures
Anterior cingulate cortex GABA levels expressed as ratios relative to unsuppressed voxel tissue water (w) and anhedonia scores expressed as a continuous variable.
Results
Compared with control subjects, adolescents with MDD had significantly decreased ACC GABA/w (t= 3.2; P<.003). When subjects with MDD were categorized based on the presence of anhedonia, only anhedonic patients had decreased GABA/w levels compared with control subjects (t=4.08; P<.001; PTukey<.001). Anterior cingulate cortex GABA/w levels were negatively correlated with anhedonia scores for the whole MDD group (r = −0.50; P = .02), as well as for the entire participant sample including the control subjects (r=−0.54; P<.001). Anterior cingulate cortex white matter was also significantly decreased in adolescents with MDD compared with controls (P=.04).
Conclusions
These findings suggest that GABA, the major inhibitory neurotransmitter in the brain, may be implicated in adolescent MDD and, more specifically, in those with anhedonia. In addition, use of a continuous rather than categorical scale of anhedonia, as in the present study, may permit greater specificity in evaluating this important clinical feature.
doi:10.1001/archgenpsychiatry.2011.131
PMCID: PMC3711232  PMID: 21969419
10.  METABOLIC SYNDROME AND NEUROMETABOLIC ASYMMETRY OF HIPPOCAMPUS IN ADULT BONNET MONKEYS 
Physiology & behavior  2011;103(5):535-539.
Objective
Obesity is associated with the insulin resistance metabolic syndrome, postulated to be mediated by stress-induced alterations within the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis. In adult bonnet macaques we examined relationships between components of the metabolic syndrome, hippocampal neurometabolic asymmetry, an indicator of negative affect, and juvenile cerebrospinal fluid (csf) corticotropin-releasing factor (CRF) levels obtained after stress exposure associated with maternal food insecurity and in controls.
Methods
Eleven adult male monkeys (seven with early life stress) who had undergone csf-CRF analyses as juveniles had magnetic resonance spectroscopic imaging (MRSI) of bilateral hippocampus, morphometry (body mass index, BMI; sagittal abdominal diameter, SAD) and determination of fasting plasma glucose and insulin as adults. Neurometabolite ratios included N-acetyl-aspartate as numerator (NAA; a marker of neuronal integrity) and choline (Cho; cell turnover) and creatine (Cr; reference analyte) as denominators.
Results
Elevated juvenile csf-CRF levels positively predicted adult BMI and SAD and were associated with right > left shift of NAA ratio within the hippocampus. Adult visceral obesity and insulin level correlated with right > left shift in hippocampal NAA concentrations, controlling for age and denominator.
Conclusion
Juvenile csf-CRF levels, a neuropeptide associated with early life stress, predict adult visceral obesity and hippocampal asymmetry supporting the hypothesis that metabolic syndrome in adults may be related to early life stress. Furthermore, this study demonstrates asymmetrical hippocampal alterations related to obesity.
doi:10.1016/j.physbeh.2011.03.020
PMCID: PMC3107881  PMID: 21459102
Corticotropin releasing factor; hippocampus; stress; metabolic syndrome; food insecurity; obesity
11.  Early-Life Stress and Neurometabolites of the Hippocampus 
Brain research  2010;1358:191-199.
We tested the hypothesis that early life stress would persistently compromise neuronal viability of the hippocampus of the grown nonhuman primate. Neuronal viability was assessed through ascertainment of N-acetyl aspartate (NAA) – an amino acid considered reflective of neuronal density/functional integrity – using in vivo proton magnetic resonance spectroscopic imaging (MRSI). The subjects reported herein represent a re-analysis of a sample of nineteen adult male bonnet macaques that had been reared in infancy under induced stress by maternal variable foraging demand (VFD) (N = 10) or control rearing conditions (N = 9). The MRSI spectral readings were recorded using a GE 1.5 Tesla machine under anesthesia. Relative NAA values were derived using NAA as numerator and both choline (Cho) or creatine (Cr) as denominators. Left medial temporal lobe (MTL) NAA/Cho but not NAA/Cr was decreased in VFD subjects versus controls. An MTL NAA/Cho ratio deficit remained significant when controlling for multiple confounding variables. Regression analyses suggested that the NAA/Choline finding was due to independently low left NAA and high left choline. Right MTL showed no rearing effects for NAA, but right NAA was positively related to body mass, irrespective of denominator. The current data indicate that decreased left MTL NAA/Cho may reflect low neuronal viability of the hippocampus following early life stress in VFD-reared versus normally-reared subjects. Given the importance of the hippocampus in stress-mediated toxicity, validation of these data using absolute quantification is suggested and correlative neurohistological studies of hippocampus are warranted.
doi:10.1016/j.brainres.2010.08.021
PMCID: PMC2988576  PMID: 20713023
Early-Life Stress; Nonhuman Primate; Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy; Hippocampus; N-Acetyl-Aspartate; Brain laterality
12.  The role of early life stress in development of the anterior limb of the internal capsule in non-human primates 
Neuroscience letters  2010;480(2):93-96.
Background
Deep brain stimulation (DBS) of the anterior limb of the internal capsule (ALIC) may be effective in treating depression. Parental verbal abuse has been linked to decreased fractional anisotropy (FA) of white matter and reduced FA correlated with depression and anxiety scores. Utilizing a nonhuman primate model of mood and anxiety disorders following disrupted mother-infant attachment, we examined whether adverse rearing conditions lead to white matter impairment of the ALIC.
Methods
We examined white matter integrity using Diffusion Tensor Imaging (DTI) on a 3T-MRI. Twenty-one adult male Bonnet macaques participated in this study: 12 were reared under adverse [variable foraging demand (VFD)] conditions whereas 9 were reared under normative conditions. We examined ALIC, posterior limb of the internal capsule (PLIC) and occipital white matter.
Results
VFD rearing was associated with significant reductions in FA in the ALIC with no changes evident in the PLIC or occipital cortex white matter.
Conclusion
Adverse rearing in monkeys persistently impaired frontal white matter tract integrity, a novel substrate for understanding affective susceptibility.
doi:10.1016/j.neulet.2010.06.012
PMCID: PMC2951885  PMID: 20541590
Diffusion tensor imaging; fractional anisotropy; white matter integrity; variable foraging demand
13.  Diffusion tensor imaging in studying white matter complexity: A gap junction hypothesis 
Neuroscience letters  2010;475(3):161-164.
The role of the prefrontal cortex as an executive oversight of posterior brain regions raises the question of the extent to which the anterior regions of the brain interconnect with the posterior regions. The aim of this study is to test the complexity of rostral white matter tracts, which connect anterior and posterior brain regions, in comparison to caudal white matter tracts and the corpus callosum. Diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) is a modality that measures fractional anisotropy (FA). Higher white matter complexity could result in a decrease of FA, possibly through denser intersection of fiber tracts. DTI was used to determine regional FA in 9 healthy bonnet macaques (Macaca radiata). Four regions of interest were included: anterior and posterior limbs of the internal capsule, the occipital lobe white matter, and the corpus callosum. FA of the anterior limbs of the internal capsule was lowest compared to all other regions of interest (Newman-Keuls (N-K); p < 0.0001), whereas FA of the corpus callosum was highest (N-K; p < 0.0001). The posterior limbs of the internal capsule and the occipital white matter were not distinguishable but exhibited intermediate FA in comparison to the former (N-K; p < 0.0001) and the latter (N-K; p < 0.0001). The current study demonstrates that FA, a measure of white matter complexity, can vary markedly as a function of region of interest. Moreover, validation of these findings using neurohistological studies and replication in human samples appears warranted.
doi:10.1016/j.neulet.2010.03.070
PMCID: PMC2862850  PMID: 20371267
Diffusion tensor imaging; fractional anisotropy; white matter; gap junctions; nonhuman primates; neuroimaging; neurodevelopment
14.  The Relationship between Intelligence and Anxiety: An Association with Subcortical White Matter Metabolism 
We have demonstrated in a previous study that a high degree of worry in patients with generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) correlates positively with intelligence and that a low degree of worry in healthy subjects correlates positively with intelligence. We have also shown that both worry and intelligence exhibit an inverse correlation with certain metabolites in the subcortical white matter. Here we re-examine the relationships among generalized anxiety, worry, intelligence, and subcortical white matter metabolism in an extended sample. Results from the original study were combined with results from a second study to create a sample comprised of 26 patients with GAD and 18 healthy volunteers. Subjects were evaluated using the Penn State Worry Questionnaire, the Wechsler Brief intelligence quotient (IQ) assessment, and proton magnetic resonance spectroscopic imaging (1H-MRSI) to measure subcortical white matter metabolism of choline and related compounds (CHO). Patients with GAD exhibited higher IQ’s and lower metabolite concentrations of CHO in the subcortical white matter in comparison to healthy volunteers. When data from GAD patients and healthy controls were combined, relatively low CHO predicted both relatively higher IQ and worry scores. Relatively high anxiety in patients with GAD predicted high IQ whereas relatively low anxiety in controls also predicted high IQ. That is, the relationship between anxiety and intelligence was positive in GAD patients but inverse in healthy volunteers. The collective data suggest that both worry and intelligence are characterized by depletion of metabolic substrate in the subcortical white matter and that intelligence may have co-evolved with worry in humans.
doi:10.3389/fnevo.2011.00008
PMCID: PMC3269637  PMID: 22347183
intelligence; anxiety; white matter; choline; magnetic resonance spectroscopic imaging
15.  Amino Acid Neurotransmitters Assessed by 1H MRS: Relationship to Treatment-Resistance in Major Depressive Disorder 
Biological psychiatry  2009;65(9):792-800.
Background
Significant alterations in γ-aminobutyric acid (GABA) and glutamate levels have been previously reported in symptomatic and remitted major depressive disorder (MDD); however, no studies to date have investigated potential associations between these amino acid neurotransmitters and treatment-resistance.
Methods
The objective of this study was to compare occipital cortex (OCC) and anterior cingulate cortex (ACC) GABA and glutamate+glutamine (“Glx”) levels measured in vivo by proton magnetic resonance spectroscopy (1H MRS) in 15 medication-free treatment-resistant depression (TRD) patients with those in 18 non-treatment-resistant MDD (nTRD) patients and 24 healthy volunteers (HVs).
Results
Levels of OCC GABA relative to voxel tissue water (W) were decreased in TRD patients compared to both HV (20.2% mean reduction; p=.001; Cohen’s d=1.3) and nTRD subjects (16.4% mean reduction; p=.007; Cohen’s d=1.4). There was a similar main effect of diagnosis for ACC GABA/W levels (p=.047; Cohen’s d=0.76) with TRD patients exhibiting reduced GABA in comparison to the other two groups (22.4–24.5% mean reductions). Group differences in Glx/W were not significant in either brain region in primary ANOVA analyses. Only GABA results in OCC survived correction for multiple comparisons.
Conclusions
Our findings corroborate previous reports of decreased GABA in MDD and provide initial evidence for a distinct neuronal amino acid profile in patients who have failed to respond to several standard antidepressants, possibly indicative of abnormal glutamate/glutamine/GABA cycling. Given interest in novel antidepressant mechanisms in TRD that selectively target amino acid neurotransmitter function, the translational relevance of these findings awaits further study.
doi:10.1016/j.biopsych.2008.10.025
PMCID: PMC2934870  PMID: 19058788
glutamate; GABA; magnetic resonance; spectroscopy; depression
16.  Reproducibility of single- and multi-voxel 1H MRS measurements of intramyocellular lipid in overweight and lean subjects under conditions of controlled dietary calorie and fat intake 
NMR in biomedicine  2008;21(5):498-506.
The reproducibility of repeated single-voxel 1H MRS (SV-MRS) and spectroscopic imaging (MRSI) measurements of intramyocellular lipid (IMCL) in the tibialis anterior muscle of five lean and five overweight female Caucasians, during 7 days of controlled dietary fat and calorie intake, was assessed at 1.5 T. Duplicate measures of IMCL relative to total muscle creatine (IMCL/tCr) obtained 3 days apart by both SV-MRS and MRSI correlated well (r =0.65 and r =0.95, respectively, P <0.05). The coefficients of variation for repeated measures of IMCL/tCr by SV-MRS and MRSI were 24.4% and 10.7%, respectively. IMCL/tCr measured by MRSI was higher in overweight subjects than in lean subjects (8.3 ± 3.8 vs 4.3 ± 2.4, P <0.05). Although both methods achieved good reproducibility in measuring IMCL in vivo, MRSI was found to offer greater flexibility and reliability, and higher sensitivity to IMCL differences, whereas SV-MRS was advantageous with respect to shorter scan time and ease of implementation.
doi:10.1002/nbm.1218
PMCID: PMC2892914  PMID: 17955571
intramyocellular lipid; reproducibility; MRS; spectroscopic imaging; diet; overweight
17.  Body Composition in Premature Adrenarche by Structural MRI, 1H MRS and DXA 
Background
Premature adrenarche (PA) is recognized to be a possible precursor of polycystic ovarian syndrome, type 2 diabetes mellitus and cardiovascular disease. Visceral adiposity and increased intramyocellular lipid (IMCL) are associated with insulin resistance and increased risk of cardiovascular disease.
Aim
To determine whether prepubertal girls with PA have altered visceral adiposity and/or increased muscle lipid content compared to prepubertal girls without PA using proton magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and spectroscopy (1H MRS).
Patients and Methods
We performed total body dual energy X-ray absorptiometry (DXA) scans, MRI of the trunk, and MRS of the tibialis anterior muscle in the right calf on six girls with PA and eight prepubertal controls.
Results
Amount of visceral adipose tissue (VAT), abdominal subcutaneous adipose tissue (SAT), and VAT to SAT ratio did not differ significantly between the PA and control girls. Those with PA, however, had significantly greater IMCL than controls (p = 0.004).
Conclusions
This study adds further evidence that PA is not a benign condition, and future studies investigating early intervention with dietary and exercise counseling may help diminish potential risk for diabetes mellitus and/or cardiovascular disease.
PMCID: PMC2873039  PMID: 19554803
premature adrenarche; proton magnetic resonance spectroscopy; intramyocellular lipid; metabolic syndrome; diabetes mellitus; body composition
18.  Hippocampal N-Acetylaspartate Concentration and Response to Riluzole in Generalized Anxiety Disorder 
Biological psychiatry  2007;63(9):891-898.
Background:
Previous research has suggested the therapeutic potential of glutamate-modulating agents for severe mood and anxiety disorders, potentially due to enhancement of neuroplasticity. We used proton magnetic resonance spectroscopic imaging (1H MRSI) to examine the acute and chronic effects of the glutamate-release inhibitor riluzole on hippocampal N-acetylaspartate (NAA), a neuronal marker, in patients with generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), and examined the relationship between changes in NAA and clinical outcome.
Methods:
Fourteen medication-free GAD patients were administered open-label riluzole and then evaluated by 1H MRSI before drug administration, and 24 hours and 8 weeks following treatment. Patients were identified as responders (n = 9) or non-responders (n = 5). Seven untreated, medically healthy volunteers, comparable in age, sex, IQ, and body mass index to the patients, received scans at the same time intervals. Molar NAA concentrations in bilateral hippocampus and change in anxiety ratings were the primary outcome measures.
Results:
A group-by-time interaction was found, with riluzole responders showing mean increases in hippocampal NAA across the three time points, while non-responders had decreases over time. In GAD patients at Week 8, hippocampal NAA concentration and proportional increase in NAA from baseline both were positively associated with improvements in worry and clinician-rated anxiety.
Conclusions:
These preliminary data support a specific association between hippocampal NAA and symptom alleviation following riluzole treatment in GAD. Placebo-controlled investigations that examine hippocampal NAA as a viable surrogate endpoint for clinical trials of neuroprotective and plasticity-enhancing agents are warranted.
doi:10.1016/j.biopsych.2007.09.012
PMCID: PMC2385784  PMID: 18028881
19.  Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopic Imaging of Tumor Metabolic Markers for Cancer Diagnosis, Metabolic Phenotyping, and Characterization of Tumor Microenvironment 
Disease Markers  2004;19(2-3):69-94.
Cancer cells display heterogeneous genetic characteristics, depending on the tumor dynamic microenvironment. Abnormal tumor vasculature and poor tissue oxygenation generate a fraction of hypoxic tumor cells that have selective advantages in metastasis and invasion and often resist chemo- and radiation therapies. The genetic alterations acquired by tumors modify their biochemical pathways, which results in abnormal tumor metabolism. An elevation in glycolysis known as the “Warburg effect” and changes in lipid synthesis and oxidation occur. Magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS) has been used to study tumor metabolism in preclinical animal models and in clinical research on human breast, brain, and prostate cancers. This technique can identify specific genetic and metabolic changes that occur in malignant tumors. Therefore, the metabolic markers, detectable by MRS, not only provide information on biochemical changes but also define different metabolic tumor phenotypes. When combined with the contrast-enhanced Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI), which has a high sensitivity for cancer diagnosis, in vivo magnetic resonance spectroscopic imaging (MRSI) improves the diagnostic specificity of malignant human cancers and is becoming an important clinical tool for cancer management and care. This article reviews the MRSI techniques as molecular imaging methods to detect and quantify metabolic changes in various tumor tissue types, especially in extracranial tumor tissues that contain high concentrations of fat. MRI/MRSI methods have been used to characterize tumor microenvironments in terms of blood volume and vessel permeability. Measurements of tissue oxygenation and glycolytic rates by MRS also are described to illustrate the capability of the MR technology in probing molecular information non-invasively in tumor tissues and its important potential for studying molecular mechanisms of human cancers in physiological conditions.
doi:10.1155/2004/424395
PMCID: PMC3851424  PMID: 15096706

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