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Prefrontal GABA and glutathione imbalance in posttraumatic stress disorder: Preliminary findings


Michels, Lars; Schulte-Vels, Thomas; Schick, Matthis; O’Gorman, Ruth L; Zeffiro, Thomas; Hasler, Gregor; Mueller-Pfeiffer, Christoph (2014). Prefrontal GABA and glutathione imbalance in posttraumatic stress disorder: Preliminary findings. Psychiatry Research: Neuroimaging, 224(3):288-295.

Abstract

Although posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is associated with a variety of structural and functional brain changes, the molecular pathophysiological mechanisms underlying these macroscopic alterations are unknown. Recent studies support the existence of an altered excitation–inhibition balance in PTSD. Further, there is preliminary evidence from blood-sample studies suggesting heightened oxidative stress in PTSD, potentially leading to neural damage through excessive brain levels of free radicals. In this study we investigated PTSD (n=12) and non-PTSD participants (n=17) using single-voxel proton magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS) in dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC) and anterior cingulate cortex (ACC). We found significantly higher levels of γ-amino butyric acid (GABA) (a primary inhibitory neurotransmitter) and glutathione (a marker for neuronal oxidative stress) in PTSD participants. Atypically high prefrontal inhibition as well as oxidative stress may be involved in the pathogenesis of PTSD.

Although posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is associated with a variety of structural and functional brain changes, the molecular pathophysiological mechanisms underlying these macroscopic alterations are unknown. Recent studies support the existence of an altered excitation–inhibition balance in PTSD. Further, there is preliminary evidence from blood-sample studies suggesting heightened oxidative stress in PTSD, potentially leading to neural damage through excessive brain levels of free radicals. In this study we investigated PTSD (n=12) and non-PTSD participants (n=17) using single-voxel proton magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS) in dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC) and anterior cingulate cortex (ACC). We found significantly higher levels of γ-amino butyric acid (GABA) (a primary inhibitory neurotransmitter) and glutathione (a marker for neuronal oxidative stress) in PTSD participants. Atypically high prefrontal inhibition as well as oxidative stress may be involved in the pathogenesis of PTSD.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:04 Faculty of Medicine > University Children's Hospital Zurich > Medical Clinic
04 Faculty of Medicine > University Hospital Zurich > Clinic for Neuroradiology
04 Faculty of Medicine > University Hospital Zurich > Clinic for Psychiatry and Psychotherapy
Dewey Decimal Classification:610 Medicine & health
Language:English
Date:2014
Deposited On:04 Dec 2014 16:00
Last Modified:05 Apr 2016 18:32
Publisher:Elsevier
ISSN:0925-4927
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.pscychresns.2014.09.007
PubMed ID:25448399

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