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Neurochemical pathology in hippocampus in euthymic patients with bipolar I disorder

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Scherk H, Backens M, Schneider-Axmann T, Kemmer C, Usher J, Reith W, Falkai P, Gruber O. Neurochemical pathology in hippocampus in euthymic patients with bipolar I disorder. Objective: 

Subcortical regions such as hippocampus, thalamus and ventral putamen are assumed to be involved in the pathophysiology of mood regulation. Disturbed hippocampal neuronal function indicated by reduced N-acetyl-aspartate (NAA) levels in bipolar patients was shown by several studies. Results in thalamus and putamen are inconsistent. Method: 

N-acetyl-aspartate, choline (Cho), creatine (Cr) and myo-inositol (Ins) were measured in left hippocampus, left thalamus and left putamen using proton magnetic resonance spectroscopy in 13 euthymic patients with bipolar I disorder and 13 pairwise matched healthy control subjects. Metabolic ratios NAA/Cr, NAA/Cho, Cho/Cr and Ins/Cr were calculated. Results: 

Patients with bipolar I disorder demonstrated significantly reduced NAA/Cr in the left hippocampus compared with healthy control subjects. No alterations were found in thalamus or putamen. Conclusion: 

We hypothesize that this NAA/Cr reduction might reflect neuronal dysfunction in the left hippocampus in patients with bipolar disorder.

Keywords: N-acetyl-aspartate; bipolar disorder; hippocampus; magnetic resonance spectroscopy; thalamus

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: Department of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy, Georg-August-University Goettingen, Goettingen 2: Departments of Neuroradiology 3: Psychiatry and Psychotherapy, Saarland University Hospital, Homburg, Germany

Publication date: April 1, 2008


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