OBJECTIVE: 7 Tesla (T) longitudinal magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS) offers a precise measurment of metabolic levels in human brain via a non-invasive approach. Studying longitudinal changes in neurometabolites could help identify trait and state markers for diseases and understand inconsistent findings from different researchers due to differences in the age of study participants and duration of illness. This study is the first to report novel longitudinal patterns in young adulthood from both physiological and pathological viewpoints using 7T MRS. METHODS: Utilizing a four-year longitudinal cohort with 38 first episode psychosis (FEP) patients (onset within 2 years) and 48 healthy controls (HC), the authors examined the annual percentage changes of 9 neurometabolites in 5 brain regions. RESULTS: Both FEP patients and HC subjects were found to have significant longitudinal reductions in glutamate (Glu) in the anterior cingulate cortex (ACC). Only FEP patients were found to have a significant decrease over time in gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), N-acetyl aspartate (NAA), myo-inositol (mI), and total choline (tCho: phosphocholine plus glycerophosphocholine) in the ACC. Uniquely, glutathione (GSH) was found to have a near zero annual percentage change in both FEP patients and HC subjects in all 5 brain regions over a four-year timespan in young adulthood. CONCLUSIONS: GSH could be a trait marker for diagnostic applications at least in young adulthood. Glu, GABA, NAA, mI, and tCho in the ACC are associated with the patient’s status and could be state markers for mechanistic studies of psychotic disorders, including those for progressive pathological changes and medication effects in young adulthood.
bioRxiv Subject Collection: Neuroscience