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N-acetylaspartate (NAA) levels in selected areas of the brain in patients with chronic schizophrenia treated with typical and atypical neuroleptics: A proton magnetic resonance spectroscopy (1H MRS) study

Agata Szulc, Beata Galinska, Eugeniusz Tarasów, Bożena Kubas, Wojciech Dzienis, Beata Konarzewska, Beata Konarzewska, Regina Poplawska, Anna A. Tomczak, Andrzej Czernikiewicz, Jerzy Walecki

Med Sci Monit 2007; 13(1): 17-22

ID: 482274

Published: 2007-05-18


Background: NAA, marker of neurons integrity and viability, is one of the most important brain metabolites visible in 1H MRS. In most studies of schizophrenia, the decrease of NAA level was observed in the temporal, frontal lobes and in the thalamus. This finding was observed more often among chronic patients, what suggests the influence of disease duration or the effect of neuroleptic treatment. The aim of the present study was the comparison of NAA levels in brain of schizophrenic patients taking typical and atypical neuroleptics.
Material and Methods: We analyzed the NAA levels in selected brain areas in 58 schizophrenic patients and 21 healthy controls. 10 patients were treated with typical neuroleptics, 10 patients with clozapine, 17 received olanzapine and 21 – risperidone. 1H MRS was performed on a 1,5 MR scanner with PRESS sequence. Voxels of 2×2×2 cm were localized in the left frontal, left temporal lobe and left thalamus.
Results: There were no differences in NAA levels between patients on typical and atypical medications analyzed together and separately (olanzapine, clozapine and risperidone groups). We also did not find any differences between patients taking selected atypical neuroleptics and controls. The NAA level in the thalamus in the group of patients receiving typical antipsychotics was the lowest among all groups and differed significantly from healthy controls.
Conclusions: The results of our study suggest that atypical neuroleptics may have favorable effect on NAA concentration in brain of schizophrenic patients. Decrease in NAA level in patients taking typical medication may be caused by the progression of the disease or by the direct action of these drugs.

Keywords: Antipsychotic Agents - therapeutic use, Adult, Aspartic Acid - metabolism, Brain - pathology, Female, Humans, Magnetic Resonance Imaging, Male, Schizophrenia - physiopathology



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