Increased cerebrospinal fluid glutamine levels in depressed patients

Joseph Levine, Kanagasabai Panchalingam, Avraham Rapoport, Samuel Gershon, Richard J. McClure, Jay W. Pettegrew

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168 Scopus citations


Background: There is increasing evidence for an association between alterations of brain glutamatergic neurotransmission and the pathophysiology of affective disorders. Methods: We studied the association between cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) metabolites, including glutamine, in unipolar and bipolar depressed patients versus control subjects using a proton magnetic resonance spectroscopy technique. Cerebrospinal fluid samples were obtained from 18 hospitalized patients with acute unmedicated severe depression without medical problems and compared with those of 22 control subjects. Results: Compared with the control group, the depressed patient group had significantly higher CSF glutamine concentrations, which correlated positively with CSF magnesium levels. Conclusions: These findings suggest an abnormality of the brain glial-neuronal glutamine/glutamate cycle associated with N-methyl-D-aspartate receptor systems in patients with depression. Copyright (C) 2000 Society of Biological Psychiatry.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)586-593
Number of pages8
JournalBiological Psychiatry
Issue number7
StatePublished - 1 Apr 2000


  • Creatine
  • Glutamine
  • H MRS
  • Major depression
  • β-hydroxybutyrate


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