Preliminary evidence of low cortical GABA levels in localized 1H-MR spectra of alcohol-dependent and hepatic encephalopathy patients

Kevin L. Behar, Douglas L. Rothman, Kitt F. Petersen, Michael Hooten, Richard Delaney, Ognen A.C. Petroff, Gerald I. Shulman, Victor Navarro, Ismene L. Petrakis, Dennis S. Charney, John H. Krystal

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

123 Scopus citations


Objective: The aim of the study was to compare levels of neuroactive amino acids in the cerebral cortex of healthy subjects, recently detoxified alcohol-dependent patients, and patients with hepatic encephalopathy. Method: Metabolite levels were measured in the occipital cortex by using spatially localized 1H-MRS. Five recently detoxified alcohol-dependent and five hepatic encephalopathy patients with alcohol and non-alcohol-related disease were compared with 10 healthy subjects. Results: The combined level of γ- aminobutyric acid (GABA) plus homocarnosine was lower in the alcohol- dependent and hepatic encephalopathy patients than in the healthy subjects. Conclusions: The findings suggest that GABA-ergic systems are altered in both alcohol-dependent and hepatic encephalopathy patients.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)952-954
Number of pages3
JournalAmerican Journal of Psychiatry
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 1999

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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