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Article
December 1986

Cerebral Cation Shifts and Amino Acids in Huntington's Disease

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Biological Psychiatry, Psychiatric University Clinic, Groningen, the Netherlands.

Arch Neurol. 1986;43(12):1276-1281. doi:10.1001/archneur.1986.00520120056016
Abstract

• The cations, calcium, magnesium, sodium, and potassium, putative amino acid transmitters, and total protein contents were assessed in the frontal cortex, putamen, and substantia nigra of Huntington's disease (HD) patients and agematched nonneurologic control subjects. In the HD frontal cortex and HD substantia nigra, only small increases in sodium levels and decreases in potassium levels were observed, but in the HD putamen there were major cation shifts, suggesting a twofold increase of the extracellular space. In all three brain areas that were investigated, potassium was positively correlated with γ-aminobutyric acid and in the putamen sodium was negatively correlated with the amino acid. These correlations suggest loss of γ-aminobutyric acidergic neurons or nerve terminals in these areas. The elevation of sodium in the HD basal ganglia may be visualized in vivo by nuclear magnetic resonance of sodium.

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