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Mol Imaging. 2018 Jan-Dec;17:1536012117749051. doi: 10.1177/1536012117749051.

Decreased Taurine and Creatine in the Thalamus May Relate to Behavioral Impairments in Ethanol-Fed Mice: A Pilot Study of Proton Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy.

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1 Department of Diagnostic Radiology and Nuclear Medicine, University of Maryland School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD, USA.
2 The First Affiliated Hospital of Zhengzhou University, Zhengzhou, Henan, China.
3 Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences, University of Maryland School of Pharmacy, Baltimore, MD, USA.
4 McLean Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Belmont, MA, USA.
5 The Department of Pediatrics, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL, USA.
6 Department of Anatomy & Neurobiology, University of Maryland School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD, USA.
7 Blood Research Institute, Blood Center of Wisconsin, Department of Medicine, Medical College of Wisconsin Milwaukee, WI, USA.
8 The Department of Medicine, University of Maryland School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD, USA.


Minimal hepatic encephalopathy (MHE) is highly prevalent, observed in up to 80% of patients with liver dysfunction. Minimal hepatic encephalopathy is defined as hepatic encephalopathy with cognitive deficits and no grossly evident neurologic abnormalities. Clinical management may be delayed due to the lack of in vivo quantitative methods needed to reveal changes in brain neurobiochemical biomarkers. To gain insight into the development of alcoholic liver disease-induced neurological dysfunction (NDF), a mouse model of late-stage alcoholic liver fibrosis (LALF) was used to investigate changes in neurochemical levels in the thalamus and hippocampus that relate to behavioral changes. Proton magnetic resonance spectroscopy of the brain and behavioral testing were performed to determine neurochemical alterations and their relationships to behavioral changes in LALF. Glutamine levels were higher in both the thalamus and hippocampus of alcohol-treated mice than in controls. Thalamic levels of taurine and creatine were significantly diminished and strongly correlated with alcohol-induced behavioral changes. Chronic long-term alcohol consumption gives rise to advanced liver fibrosis, neurochemical changes in the nuclei, and behavioral changes which may be linked to NDF. Magnetic resonance spectroscopy represents a sensitive and noninvasive measurement of pathological alterations in the brain, which may provide insight into the pathogenesis underlying the development of MHE.


alcohol-induced minimal hepatic encephalopathy; alcoholic liver fibrosis; creatine; magnetic resonance spectroscopy; taurine; thalamus

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