Anterior cingulate cortex and cerebellar hemisphere neurometabolite changes in depression treatment: A 1H magnetic resonance spectroscopy study

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We utilized single-voxel 1H magnetic resonance spectroscopy to determine biochemical abnormalities related to major depressive disorder (MDD) in the bilateral dorsolateral prefrontal cortex, anterior cingulate cortex (ACC), and cerebellar hemisphere before and after antidepressant treatment.


Fifteen adult MDD patients and 15 age- and sex-matched healthy controls were involved. Magnetic resonance spectroscopy of the brain was conducted in all subjects at the beginning of the study and the depressed subjects were reassessed after 8 weeks of antidepressant treatment.


At baseline, N-acetyl aspartate (NAA), total glutamine plus glutamate (Glx) and myo-inositol (MI) levels in the bilateral ACC were significantly lower in MDD patients than in controls (P < 0.05/3). MI in the bilateral cerebellar hemisphere were also decreased in patients compared with controls. After the treatment, the lower NAA, Glx and MI in ACC were normalized in MDD patients and the NAA and Glx increased compared to baseline values. The MI levels in the bilateral cerebellar hemisphere were also normalized in patients. MI and choline levels in the right cerebellar hemisphere were elevated compared to those at baseline.


Our study suggests that metabolic abnormalities in the ACC and cerebellar hemisphere are implicated in MDD. Antidepressants may alter the local metabolic abnormalities in these areas.

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