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Mol Psychiatry. 2005 Oct;10(10):900-19.

Mitochondrial dysfunction in bipolar disorder: evidence from magnetic resonance spectroscopy research.

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Brain Imaging Center, McLean Hospital, Belmont, MA 02478, USA.


Magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS) affords a noninvasive window on in vivo brain chemistry and, as such, provides a unique opportunity to gain insight into the biochemical pathology of bipolar disorder. Studies utilizing proton ((1)H) MRS have identified changes in cerebral concentrations of N-acetyl aspartate, glutamate/glutamine, choline-containing compounds, myo-inositol, and lactate in bipolar subjects compared to normal controls, while studies using phosphorus ((31)P) MRS have examined additional alterations in levels of phosphocreatine, phosphomonoesters, and intracellular pH. We hypothesize that the majority of MRS findings in bipolar subjects can be fit into a more cohesive bioenergetic and neurochemical model of bipolar illness that is both novel and yet in concordance with findings from complementary methodological approaches. In this review, we propose a hypothesis of mitochondrial dysfunction in bipolar disorder that involves impaired oxidative phosphorylation, a resultant shift toward glycolytic energy production, a decrease in total energy production and/or substrate availability, and altered phospholipid metabolism.

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