Glutathione (GSH) serves as an important anti-oxidant in the brain by scavenging harmful reactive oxygen species that are generated during different molecular processes. The GSH level in the brain provides indirect information on oxidative stress of the brain. We report in vivo detection of GSH non-invasively from various brain regions (frontal cortex, parietal cortex, hippocampus and cerebellum) in bilateral hemispheres of healthy male and female subjects and from bi-lateral frontal cortices in patients with mild cognitive impairment (MCI) and Alzheimer's disease (AD). All AD patients who participated in this study were on medication with cholinesterase inhibitors. Healthy young male (age 26.4±3.0) and healthy young female (age 23.6±2.1) subjects have higher amount of GSH in the parietal cortical region and a specific GSH distribution pattern (parietal cortex>frontal cortex>hippocampus ~ cerebellum) has been found. Overall mean GSH content is higher in healthy young female compared to healthy young male subjects and GSH is distributed differently in two hemispheres among male and female subjects. In both young female and male subjects, statistically significant (p=0.02 for young female and p=0.001 for young male) difference in mean GSH content is found when compared between left frontal cortex (LFC) and right frontal cortex (RFC). In healthy young female subjects, we report statistically significant positive correlation of GSH content between RFC and LFC (r=0.641, p=0.004) as well as right parietal cortex (RPC) and left parietal cortex (LPC) (r=0.797, p=0.000) regions. In healthy young male subjects, statistically significant positive correlation of GSH content was observed between LFC and LPC (r=0.481, p=0.032) regions. This statistical analysis implicates that in case of a high GSH content in LPC of a young male, his LFC region would also contain high GSH and vice versa. The difference in mean of GSH content between healthy young female control and female AD patients in RFC region (p=0.003) and difference in mean of GSH content between healthy young male control and male AD patients (p=0.05) in LFC region is found to be statistically significant. It is the first scientific report correlating alteration (in selective brain regions) of GSH level with clinical status of male and female subjects using non-invasive imaging technique.
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