Neurometabolites and associations with cognitive deficits in mild cognitive impairment: a magnetic resonance spectroscopy study at 7 Tesla


The levels of several brain metabolites were investigated in the anterior cingulate cortex (ACC) and posterior cingulate cortex (PCC) in 13 healthy controls (HC) and 13 patients with mild cognitive impairment (MCI) using single-voxel magnetic resonance spectroscopy at 7T. Levels of γ-aminobutyric acid (GABA), glutamate (Glu), glutathione (GSH), N-acetylaspartylglutamate (NAAG), N-acetylaspartate (NAA), and myo-inositol (mI) were quantified relative to total creatine (tCr). The effect of diagnosis on metabolite levels, and relationships between metabolite levels and memory and executive function, correcting for age, were investigated. MCI patients showed significantly decreased GABA/tCr (ACC, PCC), Glu/tCr (PCC), and NAA/tCr (PCC), and significantly increased mI/tCr (ACC). In the combined group, worse episodic verbal memory performance was correlated with lower Glu/tCr (PCC), lower NAA/tCr (PCC), and higher mI/tCr (ACC, PCC). Worse verbal fluency performance was correlated with lower GSH/tCr (PCC). In summary, MCI is associated with decreased GABA and Glu, most consistently in the PCC. Further studies in larger patient samples should be undertaken to determine the utility of 7T magnetic resonance spectroscopy in detecting MCI-related neurochemical changes.

Neurobiol. Aging