Reduced concentrations of N-acetylaspartate (NAA) and the NAA-creatine ratio in the basal ganglia in bipolar disorder: A study using 3-Tesla proton magnetic resonance spectroscopy

Mark A. Frye, M. Albert Thomas, Kenneth Yue, Nader Binesh, Pablo Davanzo, Joseph Ventura, Joseph O'Neill, Barry Guze, John G. Curran, Jim Mintz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

33 Scopus citations


The N-acetylaspartate (NAA) peak is prominent in the proton magnetic resonance spectrum and is thought to reflect neuron loss or dysfunction. This study was conducted to explore NAA biochemistry and its clinical correlates in mania. Subjects comprised 16 manic patients and 17 controls who underwent a structured diagnostic interview and 1H magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS) acquisition. STEAM 1H MRS (TR/TE/TM = 2000/20/8 ms) was acquired at 3 Tesla from 2 × 2 × 2 cm3 voxels in anterior cingulate (AC), right basal ganglia (BG), and left occipital-parietal white matter (OP). Absolute metabolite concentrations and ratios to creatine were calculated using the LC Model. The mean absolute concentrations of NAA and NAA-creatine ratio in the BG were significantly lower in manic subjects than in controls. There was a significant inverse correlation between NAA in the BG and the number of prior hospitalizations for mania. These data suggest BG pathology in mania and that NAA decrements may mark prior manic episode burden. Limitations of this study include small sample size and lack of tissue segmentation. Further study is encouraged to clarify state vs. trait aspects of NAA in bipolar disorder.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)259-265
Number of pages7
JournalPsychiatry Research - Neuroimaging
Issue number3
StatePublished - Apr 15 2007



  • Basal ganglia
  • Magnetic
  • Mania
  • N-acetylaspartate
  • Resonance
  • Spectroscopy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience (miscellaneous)
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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