December 1991

Phosphorus 31 Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy Detects Altered Brain Metabolism Before Onset of Schizophrenia

Author Affiliations

Department of Psychiatry Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic 3811 O'Hara St Pittsburgh, PA 15213
Pittsburgh, Pa

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1991;48(12):1112-1113. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1991.01810360076010

To the Editor.—  Phosphorus 31 magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS) is a safe, noninvasive technique that provides information about in vivo metabolism of various tissues, including brain.1 Using this technique, we have recently gathered data showing that first-episode, neuroleptic-naive schizophrenic patients have altered frontal lobe membrane phospholipid turnover as measured with 31P-MRS. Specifically, schizophrenic patients have reduced phosphomonoester levels and increased phosphodiester levels.2 Phosphomonoesters are the precursors and phosphodiesters are the breakdown products of membrane phospholipids.3,4It is unclear whether the abnormalities in patients affected with schizophrenia represent state or trait alterations. Recently, we examined this issue in a schizophrenic patient who had participated in our ongoing 31P-MRS studies of schizophrenia as a "normal" control prior to her first episode of schizophrenia.

Report of a Case.—  A 31-year-old single woman volunteered as a control in our 31P-MRS study. Phosphorus 31 MRS was performed on a

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