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Phosphorus magnetic resonance spectroscopy: its utility in examining the membrane hypothesis of schizophrenia.

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  • 1Department of Psychiatry, Western Psychiatric Institute & Clinic, University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, 3811 O'Hara Street, Pittsburgh, PA 15213, USA. reddyr@msx.upmc.edu

Abstract

A novel approach to understanding the pathophysiology of schizophrenia has been the investigation of membrane composition and functional perturbations, referred to as the "Membrane Hypothesis of Schizophrenia." The evidence in support of this hypothesis has been accumulating in findings in patients with schizophrenia of reductions in phospholipids and essential fatty acids various peripheral tissues. Postmortem studies indicate similar reductions in essential fatty acids in the brain. However, the use of magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS) has provided an opportunity to examine aspects of membrane biochemistry in vivo in the living brain. MRS is a powerful, albeit complex, noninvasive quantitative imaging tool that offers several advantages over other methods of in vivo biochemical investigations. It has been used extensively in investigating brain biochemistry in schizophrenia. Phosphorus MRS (31P MRS) can provide important information about neuronal membranes, such as levels of phosphomonoesters that reflect the building blocks of neuronal membranes and phosphodiesters that reflect breakdown products. 31P MRS can also provide information about bioenergetics. Studies in patients with chronic schizophrenia as well as at first episode prior to treatment show a variety of alterations in neuronal membrane biochemistry, supportive of the membrane hypothesis of schizophrenia. Below, we will briefly review the principles underlying 31P MRS and findings to date. Magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS) is a powerful, albeit complex, imaging tool that permits investigation of brain biochemistry in vivo. It utilizes the magnetic resonance imaging hardware. It offers several advantages over other methods of in vivo biochemical investigations. MRS is noninvasive, there is no radiation exposure, does not require the use of tracer ligands or contrast media. Because of it is relatively benign, repeated measures are possible. It has been used extensively in investigating brain biochemistry in schizophrenia.

PMID:
14623493
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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