31P-MRS study of acetyl-L-carnitine treatment in geriatric depression: Preliminary results

Jay W. Pettegrew, Joseph Levine, Samuel Gershon, Jeffrey A. Stanley, David Servan-Schreiber, Kanagasabai Panchalingam, Richard J. McClure

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    57 Scopus citations


    Objective: This 12-week study of two elderly, depressed subjects investigated the effect of acetyl-L-carnitine (ALCAR) treatment on the Hamilton Depression Rating Scale (HDRS) and on measures of high-energy phosphate and membrane phospholipid metabolism. Methods: Two mildly depressed (HDRS 15-20), non-demented male subjects 70 and 80 years old were compared with six non-demented controls (all males, mean age of 73.6 ± 3.6 years). High-energy and membrane phospholipid metabolites were measured by phosphorus magnetic resonance spectroscopic imaging (31P MRSI) analysis. HDRS and 31P MRSI measurements were taken at entry, 6 and 12 weeks for the depressed subjects. Results: 31P MRSI analysis revealed elevated levels of phosphomonesters [PME(s - τc] in the prefrontal region of these mildly depressed subjects, which decreased with ALCAR treatment and showed a trend for correlation of the PME(s - τc) levels with HDRS. ALCAR treatment also resulted in increasing levels of the prefrontal phosphocreatine (PCr), which correlated with HDRS. Conclusions: In the prefrontal region,-the mildly depressed subjects compared with controls had elevated PME(s - τc) levels which normalized after 12 weeks of ALCAR and increased PCr levels after ALCAR treatment. These preliminary findings suggest further studies are warranted.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)61-66
    Number of pages6
    JournalBipolar Disorders
    Issue number1
    StatePublished - 8 Jun 2002


    • Acetyl-L-carnitine
    • Geriatric depression
    • Magnetic resonance spectroscopy
    • Phospholipid metabolism

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Psychiatry and Mental health
    • Biological Psychiatry


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