A review of altered biochemistry in the anterior cingulate cortex of first-episode psychosis

L Squarcina, J A Stanley, M Bellani, C A Altamura, P Brambilla

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Relevant biochemicals of the brain can be quantified in vivo, non-invasively, using proton Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy (¹H MRS). This includes metabolites associated with neural general functioning, energetics, membrane phospholipid metabolism and neurotransmission. Moreover, there is substantial evidence of implication of the frontal and prefrontal areas in the pathogenesis of psychotic disorders such as schizophrenia. In particular, the anterior cingulate cortex (ACC) plays an important role in cognitive control of emotional and non-emotional processes. Thus the study of its extent of biochemistry dysfunction in the early stages of psychosis is of particular interest in gaining a greater understanding of its aetiology. In this review, we selected ¹H MRS studies focused on the ACC of first-episode psychosis (FEP). Four studies reported increased glutamatergic levels in FEP, while other four showed preserved concentrations. Moreover, findings on FEP do not fully mirror those in chronic patients. Due to conflicting findings, larger longitudinal ¹H MRS studies are expected to further explore glutamatergic neurotransmission in ACC of FEP in order to have a better understanding of the glutamatergic mechanisms underlying psychosis, possibly using ultra high field MR scanners.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)122-128
Number of pages7
JournalEpidemiology and Psychiatric Sciences
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2017


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