Send to

Choose Destination
J Neurochem. 2017 Sep;142(5):767-775. doi: 10.1111/jnc.14116. Epub 2017 Jul 28.

Social isolation stress and chronic glutathione deficiency have a common effect on the glutamine-to-glutamate ratio and myo-inositol concentration in the mouse frontal cortex.

Author information

Laboratory for Functional and Metabolic Imaging, École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne, Lausanne, Switzerland.
Department of Psychiatry, Center for Psychiatric Neuroscience, Lausanne University Hospital, Prilly-Lausanne, Switzerland.
Department of Radiology, University of Lausanne, Lausanne, Switzerland.
Department of Radiology, University of Geneva, Lausanne, Switzerland.


Environmental stress can interact with genetic predisposition to increase the risk of developing psychopathology. In this work, we tested the hypothesis that social isolation stress interacts with impaired glutathione synthesis and have cumulative effects on the neurochemical profile of the frontal cortex. A mouse model with chronic glutathione deficit induced by knockout (-/-) of the glutamate-cysteine ligase modulatory subunit (Gclm) was exposed to social isolation stress from weaning to post-natal day 65. Using magnetic resonance methods at high-field (14.1 T), we analysed the neurochemical profile in the frontal cortex, brain size and ventricular volume of adult animals. Glutathione deficit was accompanied by elevated concentrations of N-acetylaspartate, alanine, and glutamine, as well as the ratio of glutamine-to-glutamate (Gln/Glu), and by a reduction in levels of myo-inositol and choline-containing compounds in the frontal cortex of -/- animals with respect to wild-type littermates. Although there was no significant interaction between social isolation stress and glutathione deficiency, mice reared in isolation displayed lower myo-inositol concentration (-8.4%, p < 0.05) and larger Gln/Glu (+7.6%, p < 0.05), relative to those in group housing. Furthermore, glutathione deficiency caused a reduction in whole brain volume and enlargement of ventricles, but social isolation had no effect on these parameters. We conclude that social isolation caused neurochemical alterations that may add to those associated to impaired glutathione synthesis.


magnetic resonance spectroscopy; metabolism; neurochemical profile; neurodevelopmental; social isolation

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free full text

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Wiley
Loading ...
Support Center