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July 2016

Glutamatergic Dysfunction in Schizophrenia Evaluated With Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy

Author Affiliations
  • 1Department of Psychiatry, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts
  • 2Laboratory of Molecular and Psychiatric Neuroscience, McLean Hospital, Belmont, Massachusetts
  • 3Department of Psychiatry, University of Connecticut School of Medicine, Farmington
JAMA Psychiatry. 2016;73(7):649-650. doi:10.1001/jamapsychiatry.2016.0575

Positron emission tomography has been the dominant method for probing the neurochemistry of psychiatric disorders in living humans. This bias reflects the widely held belief that biogenic amines are central to the pathologic processes responsible for serious mental disorders including schizophrenia and affective disorders. Until recently, magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS), another technology for probing brain chemistry, has been a neglected “stepchild” because the concentrations of biogenic amines, their transporters, and receptors are a thousand-fold below the sensitivity of MRS but are readily measured with the highly radioactive positron emission tomography tracers.

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