Selective Review of Proton Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy in Schizophrenia

Naren P Rao


Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy (MRS) offers a unique opportunity to measure brain metabolites in-vivo, and in doing so enables one to understand the brain function and cellular processes implicated inthe pathophysiology of psychiatric disorders. MRS, in addition to beingnon-invasive, is devoid of radioactive tracers and ionizing radiation, adistinct advantage over other imaging modalities like positron emission tomography and single photon emission computed tomography. With advances in MRS technique it is now possible to quantify concentrations of relevant compounds like neuro transmitters, neuronal viability markers and pharmacological compounds. Majority of the MRS studies have examined the neurometabolites in schizophrenia, a common and debilitating psychiatric disorder. Abnormalities in N Acetyl aspartate and Glutamateare consistently reported while the reports regarding the myoinsoitoland choline are inconsistent. These abnormalities are not changed acrossthe illness stages and despite treatment. However, multiple technical challenges have limited the widespread use of MRS in psychiatric disorders.Guidelines for uniform acquisition and preprocessing are need of the hour,which would increase the replicability and validity of MRS measures inpsychiatry. Finally long term, prospective, longitudinal studies are required in different psychiatric disorders for potential clinical applications.


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