Proton magnetic resonance spectroscopy of the hippocampus and occipital white matter in PTSD: preliminary results. Academic Article uri icon


  • Previous proton magnetic resonance spectroscopy (1H-MRS) studies in posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) report decreased hippocampal N-acetylaspartate (NAA), an indicator of neuronal integrity. However, other areas of the brain need to be explored. The objective of this study was to investigate the specificity of hippocampal NAA concentration changes in PTSD by also examining a control region, the occipital white matter (OWM).Eight patients with PTSD and 5 control subjects underwent single-voxel 1H-MRS of the hippocampi and bilateral OWM. Absolute neurometabolite concentrations were determined.Trends toward reduced left hippocampal NAA and creatine (Cre) were found in the PTSD group. PTSD subjects also had reduced bilateral OWM Cre.The preliminary results of our study in civilians with PTSD replicate previous MRS studies and are consistent with decreased hippocampal neuronal integrity without effects in the OWM. Replication of our findings is needed.

publication date

  • September 2002