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Psychopharmacology (Berl). 2006 Jul;187(1):103-11. Epub 2006 Apr 22.

Hippocampal glutamate concentration predicts cerebral theta oscillations during cognitive processing.

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Clinic for Psychiatry and Psychotherapy (PUK im SHK), Charité-University Medicine Berlin, Campus Mitte, St. Hedwig Krankenhaus, Turmstrasse 21, 10559 Berlin, Germany.



Brain waves reflect collective behavior of neurons and provide insight into distributed network processing. Frontal and hippocampal theta oscillations (4-7 Hz) were linked to cognitive tasks and animal studies have suggested an involvement of glutamatergic neurotransmission in integrative frontal-hippocampal processing. Human evidence for such relationships is lacking.


Here, we studied the associations between glutamate concentrations in the hippocampal region, measured by a 3-T proton magnetic resonance spectroscopy (1H-MRS), and EEG theta activity during an auditory target detection paradigm.


A robust relationship between hippocampal glutamate and frontal theta activity during stimulus processing was found. Moreover, frontal theta oscillations were related to response speed.


The results suggest a functional coupling between the frontal cortex and hippocampal region during stimulus processing and support the idea of the hippocampus as a neural rhythm generator driven by glutamatergic neurotransmission. These preliminary data show, for the first time, a relationship between in vivo measured glutamate and basic cerebral information processing in humans.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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