Journal article

Prefrontal Glutathione Levels in Major Depressive Disorder Are Linked to a Lack of Positive Affect


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  • 19.10.2023
Published in:
  • Brain Sciences. - MDPI. - 2023, vol. 13, no. 1475
English Major depressive disorder (MDD) is one of the most common neuropsychiatric disorders, with symptoms including persistent sadness and loss of interest. MDD is associated with neurochemical alterations in GABA, glutamate, and glutamine levels but, to date, few studies have examined changes in glutathione (GSH) in MDD. This study investigated changes in GSH in an unmedicated group of young adults, including 46 participants with current (n = 12) or past MDD (n = 34) and 20 healthy controls. Glutathione levels were assessed from GSH-edited magnetic resonance (MR) spectra, acquired from a voxel in the left prefrontal cortex, and depressive symptoms were evaluated with validated questionnaires and clinical assessments. Cortisol levels were also assessed as a marker for acute stress. Participants with current MDD demonstrated elevated GSH in comparison to participants with past MDD and controls, although the results could be influenced by differences in tissue composition within the MRS voxel. In addition, participants with both current and past MDD showed elevated cortisol levels in comparison to controls. No significant association was observed between GSH and cortisol levels, but elevated GSH levels were associated with a decrease in positive affect. These results demonstrate for the first time that elevated GSH in current but not past depression may reflect a state rather than a trait neurobiological change, related to a loss of positive affect.
Faculté des sciences et de médecine
Master en médecine
  • English
Pathology, clinical medicine
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