Repeated exposure to dizocilpine (MK-801) can be used as a model of schizophrenia that incorporates disease progression. Proton magnetic resonance spectroscopy (1H MRS) has been widely used to investigate schizophrenia-related alterations in glutamate (Glu). The purpose of this study was to investigate metabolic alterations in the prefrontal cortex (PFC) in an animal model of schizophrenia by using in vivo 1H MRS. Because of the spectral overlap of Glu and glutamine (Gln), high-field 1H MRS with short echo time (TE) was used. A point-resolved spectroscopy sequence was used to measure the levels of Glu and Gln, and the brain metabolites in a volume of interest (22.5μL) located in the PFC region of rats (n=13) before and after 6days of MK-801 (0.5mg/kg) treatment. Analysis of the spectra showed that the cross-contamination of Glu and Gln can be considered to comparably low. No metabolic parameters were altered (p>0.05). However, differences in Glu and N-acetylaspartate (NAA) levels between two times were significantly correlated (p<0.01). The results showed both decreased (in 6 of the 13 rats) and increased (7 of the 13 rats) levels of Glu and NAA, which suggested that these opposite metabolic alterations reflect two stage of disease progression. The results suggest that high-field and short TE in vivo 1H MRS can quantify Glu and Gln with reliably low level of cross-contamination and that repeated exposure to MK-801 induces the progressive development of schizophrenia.
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