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Magn Reson Imaging. 2008 Jun;26(5):667-75. Epub 2007 Aug 9.

Regional variations and the effects of age and gender on glutamate concentrations in the human brain.

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  • 1Department of Medicine, John A. Burns School of Medicine, University of Hawaii, Honolulu, HI 96813, USA. sailasuta@hmri.org


Proton magnetic resonance spectroscopy was performed at 3 T using the echo time-averaged point-resolved spectroscopy method to determine the effects of age, gender and brain region on glutamate (Glu) concentrations in the healthy human brain. Thirty healthy men and 20 healthy women aged between 21 and 71 years were studied. Significant regional variations of Glu concentrations were observed. Glu concentration in the gray matter (GM) was approximately 25% higher than that in the white matter. Significant age-dependent decreases in Glu concentrations were observed in the basal ganglia (r=-0.75, P<.001) and parietal GM (r=-0.66, P<.001) of men but not those of women. Our findings demonstrate regional variations of Glu concentrations and suggest that the male brain may be more vulnerable to aging than the female brain. Our results also highlight the importance of brain region, age and gender matching in clinical studies.

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