Glutamatergic metabolites among adolescents at risk for psychosis

Caroline Demro, Laura Rowland, S. Andrea Wijtenburg, James Waltz, James Gold, Emily Kline, Elizabeth Thompson, Gloria Reeves, L. Elliot Hong, Jason Schiffman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


Proton-Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy (1H-MRS) may serve as an important tool for identifying biomarkers that aid the understanding of early psychosis, as development of this condition may be associated with metabolite concentration changes that reflect an alteration in glutamatergic mechanisms. The current study explored 1H-MRS metabolite concentrations in the striatum and anterior cingulate cortex (ACC) as potential biomarkers of psychosis-risk symptom severity. In a sample of 12 adolescents at clinical high-risk for psychosis, the subclinical symptom of grandiosity significantly correlated with glutamate in the ACC. Striatal glutathione, a marker of oxidative stress linked to the glutamatergic system, significantly correlated with grandiosity. Anterior cingulate glutathione significantly correlated with grandiosity and disorganized communication. These findings suggest that within a small sample of young people at clinical high-risk, glutamatergic metabolites are correlated with symptomatology generally predictive of conversion to psychosis. These mechanisms may serve as relevant biomarkers for facilitating prediction of symptom severity and providing insight into the etiology of early psychosis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)179-185
Number of pages7
JournalPsychiatry Research
StatePublished - Nov 2017
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, Behavioral Health Administration through the Center for Excellence on Early Intervention for Serious Mental Illness (OPASS# 14-13717G/M00B4400241). The funding source had no role in study design, data analysis, interpretation of results, or decision to publish this manuscript.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017 Elsevier Ireland Ltd


  • Clinical high risk
  • Glutamate
  • Prodrome
  • Schizophrenia
  • Spectroscopy


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