Microstructural and functional correlates of glutamate concentration in the posterior cingulate cortex

Research paper by Jorge Arrubla, Ezequiel Farrher, Johanna Strippelmann, Desmond H. Y. Tse, Farida Grinberg, N. Jon Shah, Irene Neuner

Indexed on: 25 Jan '17Published on: 24 Jan '17Published in: Journal of Neuroscience Research


Glutamate is the major excitatory neurotransmitter in the human brain and has a central role in both intrinsic and stimulus-induced activity. We conducted a study in a cohort of healthy, male volunteers in which glutamate levels were measured in the posterior cingulate cortex (PCC) using 1H magnetic resonance spectroscopy at 3T. The advantages of simultaneous electroencephalography and magnetic resonance imaging (EEG-MRI) were exploited and the subjects were measured in the same session and under the same physiological conditions. Diffusion tensor imaging (DTI), functional MRI (fMRI) and EEG were measured in order to investigate the functional and microstructural correlates of glutamate. The concentration of glutamate (institute units) was calculated and those values were tested for correlation with the metrics of resting state fMRI, DTI, and EEG electrical sources. Our results showed that the concentration of glutamate in the PCC had a significant negative correlation with the tissue mean diffusivity in the same area. The analysis of resting state networks did not show any relationship between the concentration of glutamate and the intrinsic activity of the resting state networks. The concentration of glutamate showed a positive correlation with the electrical generators of α–1 frequency and a negative correlation with the generators of α–2 and β–1 electrical generators. © 2017 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.