Brain dynamic neurochemical changes in dystonic patients: A magnetic resonance spectroscopy study

Malgorzata Marjańska, Stéphane Lehéricy, Romain Valabrègue, Traian Popa, Yulia Worbe, Margherita Russo, Edward J. Auerbach, David Grabli, Cecilia Bonnet, Cécile Gallea, Mathieu Coudert, Lydia Yahia-Cherif, Marie Vidailhet, Sabine Meunier

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53 Scopus citations


Measurements of the concentrations of γ-aminobutyric acid (GABA) and glutamate in the motor cortices and lentiform nuclei of dystonic patients using single-voxel 1H magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS) have yielded conflicting results so far. This study aimed to investigate dynamic changes in metabolite concentrations after stimulation of the motor cortices in patients with upper limb dystonia. Using single-voxel MRS at 3 T, the concentrations of GABA, glutamate plus glutamine, and N-acetylaspartate were measured bilaterally in the primary sensorimotor cortex, lentiform nucleus, and occipital region before and after 5-Hz transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) over the dominant motor cortex. Data obtained from 15 patients with upper limb primary dystonia were compared with data obtained from 14 healthy volunteers. At baseline, there was no group difference in concentration of metabolites in any region. rTMS induced a local (in the stimulated motor cortex) decrease of N-acetylaspartate (P < .006) to the same extent in healthy volunteers and patients. GABA concentrations were modulated differently, however, decreasing mildly in patients and increasing mildly in healthy volunteers (P = .05). There were no remote effects in the lentiform nucleus in either group. The stimulation-induced changes in metabolite concentrations have been interpreted in view of the increased energy demand induced by rTMS. The dynamics of the GABA concentration were specifically impaired in dystonic patients. Whether these changes reflect changes in the extrasynaptic or synaptic GABA component is discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)201-209
Number of pages9
JournalMovement Disorders
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2013


  • Dystonia
  • Gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA)
  • NAA
  • Spectroscopy
  • Transcranial magnetic stimulation


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