Imaging of glutamate neurotransmitter alterations in Alzheimer's disease

NMR Biomed. 2013 Apr;26(4):386-91. doi: 10.1002/nbm.2875. Epub 2012 Oct 9.


Glutamate (Glu) is a major excitatory neurotransmitter in the brain and has been shown to decrease in the early stages of Alzheimer's disease (AD). Using a glutamate chemical (amine) exchange saturation transfer (GluCEST) method, we imaged the change in [Glu] in the APP-PS1 transgenic mouse model of AD at high spatial resolution. Compared with wild-type controls, AD mice exhibited a notable reduction in GluCEST contrast (~30%) in all areas of the brain. The change in [Glu] was further validated through (1) H MRS. A positive correlation was observed between GluCEST contrast and (1) H MRS-measured Glu/total creatine ratio. This method potentially provides a novel noninvasive biomarker for the diagnosis of the disease in preclinical stages and enables the development of disease-modifying therapies for AD.

Keywords: Alzheimer's disease; MRI; MRS; brain; chemical exchange saturation transfer imaging; glutamate.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Alzheimer Disease / metabolism*
  • Alzheimer Disease / pathology
  • Animals
  • Brain / metabolism
  • Brain / pathology
  • Glutamic Acid / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy
  • Mice, Transgenic
  • Neurotransmitter Agents / metabolism*
  • Reproducibility of Results


  • Neurotransmitter Agents
  • Glutamic Acid