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J Neurol Neurosurg Psychiatry. 2014 Aug;85(8):833-9. doi: 10.1136/jnnp-2013-306662. Epub 2014 Jan 15.

Memory in multiple sclerosis is linked to glutamate concentration in grey matter regions.

Author information

1
Department of Neuroinflammation, NMR Research Unit, UCL Institute of Neurology, London, UK Cognitive Neuroscience, Department of Psychology, Cardiff University, Cardiff, UK.
2
Department of Brain Repair and Rehabilitation, NMR Research Unit, UCL Institute of Neurology, London, UK Department of Neurology, University of Padova, Padova, Italy.
3
Lysholm Department of Neuroradiology, National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery, London, UK Neuroradiological Academic Unit, Department of Brain Repair and Rehabilitation, UCL Institute of Neurology, London, UK.
4
Neuroradiological Academic Unit, Department of Brain Repair and Rehabilitation, UCL Institute of Neurology, London, UK.
5
Department of Neuroinflammation, NMR Research Unit, UCL Institute of Neurology, London, UK.
6
Department of Anatomy and Neuroscience, Section of Clinical Neuroscience, VU University Medical Center, VUmc MS Center Amsterdam, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.
7
Department of Neuroinflammation, NMR Research Unit, UCL Institute of Neurology, London, UK National Institute for Health and Research (NIHR) University College London Hospital (UCLH) Biomedical Research Centre, London, UK.
8
Department of Brain Repair and Rehabilitation, NMR Research Unit, UCL Institute of Neurology, London, UK National Institute for Health and Research (NIHR) University College London Hospital (UCLH) Biomedical Research Centre, London, UK.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

Glutamate is the principal excitatory neurotransmitter and is involved in normal brain function. Cognitive impairment is common in multiple sclerosis (MS), and understanding its mechanisms is crucial for developing effective treatments. We used structural and metabolic brain imaging to test two hypotheses: (i) glutamate levels in grey matter regions are abnormal in MS, and (ii) patients show a relationship between glutamate concentration and memory performance.

METHODS:

Eighteen patients with relapsing-remitting MS and 17 healthy controls were cognitively assessed and underwent (1)H-magnetic resonance spectroscopy at 3 T to assess glutamate levels in the hippocampus, thalamus, cingulate and parietal cortices. Regression models investigated the association between glutamate concentration and memory performance independently of magnetisation transfer ratio values and grey matter lesions withint he same regions, and whole-brain grey matter volume.

RESULTS:

Patients had worse visual and verbal memory than controls. A positive relationship between glutamate levels in the hippocampal, thalamic and cingulate regions and visuospatial memory was detected in patients, but not in healthy controls.

CONCLUSIONS:

The relationship between memory and glutamate concentration, which is unique to MS patients, suggests the reliance of memory on glutamatergic systems in MS.

PMID:
24431465
PMCID:
PMC4112488
DOI:
10.1136/jnnp-2013-306662
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
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