Purpose of study: The prefrontal cortex has been previously implicated in the neuropathology of major depressive disorder (MDD). Hence, we used proton magnetic resonance spectroscopy (1H-MRS) to examine choline levels in the prefrontal cortex of youth with major depression.
Basic procedures: Twelve age- and sex-matched case-control pairs were examined (age range 10 to 18 years, 7 females and 5 males in each group). All subjects were treatment naive at the time of the scan. A long echo 1H-MRS scan was acquired from the right prefrontal cortex (4cc) in all subjects.
Main findings: Right prefrontal Choline/Creatine ratios were elevated in the youth with mood disorders (F1, 11=10.741, p=0.007) as compared with healthy controls.
Principal conclusions: These findings suggest that prefrontal cytosolic choline may be increased in youth with MDD in comparison with healthy controls. This is consistent with reported findings in both adults and adolescents and suggests that MDD in youth is associated with alterations in choline metabolism in the prefrontal cortex.
Keywords: choline; depression; magnetic resonance spectroscopy; pediatric; prefrontal cortex.