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J Neural Transm (Vienna). 2008 Jul;115(7):1051-62. doi: 10.1007/s00702-008-0045-4. Epub 2008 Jun 5.

A 1H magnetic resonance spectroscopy study in adults with obsessive compulsive disorder: relationship between metabolite concentrations and symptom severity.

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  • 1Division of Medical Physics and Medical Engineering, Sahlgrenska University Hospital, Department of Radiation Physics, University of Gothenburg, Göteborg, Sweden.


1H magnetic resonance spectroscopy (1H MRS) studies exploring brain metabolites, especially glutamine + glutamate (Glx), in obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) are of vital interest for trying to understand more about the pathophysiology of OCD. Therefore, we conducted the present 1H MRS study with the aims of (1) comparing MRS metabolites in a group of adult patients with OCD and a group of healthy controls, and (2) examining the relationship between MRS metabolite concentrations and symptom severity in the patient group. Three brain regions were studied, the right caudate nucleus, the anterior gyrus cinguli and the occipital cortex bilaterally. Since multivariate analysis is a highly useful tool for extraction of 1H MRS data, we applied principal component analysis (PCA) and partial least square projection to latent structures (PLS) to the MRS data. PLS disclosed a strong relationship between several of the metabolites and OCD symptom severity, as measured with Yale-Brown obsessive-compulsive scale (YBOCS): the YBOCS score was found to be positively correlated to caudate creatine, Glx, glutamate, and choline compounds as well as occipital cortex myoinositol, and negatively correlated to occipital cortex Glx. The negative correlation between occipital cortex Glx and YBOCS was the most impressive. PCA did not reveal any tendency for a separation between the patients with OCD and controls with respect to MRS metabolites. The results are discussed in relation to corticostriatothalamocortical feedback and previous observations of poor visuospatial ability in OCD.

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