The recency ratio is associated with reduced CSF glutamate in late-life depression
Glutamate is the principal excitatory neurotransmitter in the central nervous system, and is thought to be involved in the process of memory encoding and storage. Glutamate disturbances have also been reported in psychiatric disorders, such as schizophrenia and major depressive disorder (MDD), and in Alzheimer's disease. In this paper, we set out to study the relationship between cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) glutamate levels and memory performance, which we believe has not been reported previously. In particular, we focused on recall performance broken down by serial position. Our prediction was that the recency ratio (Rr), a novel cognitive marker of intellectual impairment, would be linked with CSF glutamate levels. We studied data from a group of cognitively intact elderly individuals, 28 of whom had MDD, while 19 were controls. Study results indicated that Rr levels, but no other memory score, were inversely correlated with CSF glutamate levels, although this was found only in individuals with late-life MDD. For comparison, glutamine or GABA were not correlated with any memory performance measure.