Effects of SSRI treatment on GABA and glutamate levels in an associative relearning paradigm

This study aims to elaborate the effects of associative relearning and selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors treatment on GABAergic and glutamatergic function within and between five brain regions using magnetic resonance spectroscopy imaging

B. Spurny; T. Vanicek; R. Seiger; M.B. Reed; M. Klöbl; V. Ritter; J. Unterholzner; G.M. Godbersen; L.R. Silberbauer; D. Pacher; S. Klug; M.E. Konadu; G. Gryglewski; S. Trattnig; W. Bogner; R. Lanzenberger

2021

Scholarcy highlights

  • Impaired cognitive flexibility represents a widespread symptom in psychiatric disorders, including major depressive disorder, a disease, characterized by an imbalance of neurotransmitter concentrations
  • While memory formation is mostly associated with glutamate, gamma-Aminobutyric acid and serotonin show attributions in a complex interplay between neurotransmitter systems
  • Healthy subjects were randomized into four groups which underwent three weeks of an associative relearning paradigm, with or without emotional connotation, under selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors or placebo administration
  • We showed a significant SSRI- and relearning-driven interaction effect of hippocampal and thalamic Glx/tCr levels, suggesting differential behavior based on different serotonin transporter and receptor densities
  • Our findings are in line with animal studies reporting glutamate adaptions in the hippocampus following chronic SSRI intake
  • Due to the complex interplay of serotonin and hippocampal function, involving multiple serotonin receptor subtypes on glutamatergic cells and GABAergic interneurons, the interpretation of underlying neurobiological actions remains challenging

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