Event-related dynamics of glutamate and BOLD effects measured using functional magnetic resonance spectroscopy (fMRS) at 3T in a repetition suppression paradigm.
Proton MR spectroscopy ((1)H-MRS) complements other brain research methods by providing measures of neurometabolites noninvasively in a localized brain area. Improvements in MR scanner technologies, and data acquisition and analysis methods should allow functional (1)H-MRS (fMRS) to measure neurometabolite concentration changes during task-induced brain activation. The aim of the current study was to further develop event-related fMRS at 3T to investigate glutamate dynamics in response to repetition suppression. A secondary aim was to investigate the relationship between blood-oxygen-level-dependent (BOLD) responses and glutamate dynamics in the same paradigm at the same time. A novel approach of interleaved water-suppressed (metabolite) and unsuppressed (water) fMRS was used to simultaneously detect the event-related dynamics of glutamate and BOLD signal to repetition suppression in the lateral occipital cortex of thirteen (N=13) volunteers. On average, (1)H-MRS-visible glutamate increased after novel visual stimuli presentations by 12% and decreased by 11-13% on repeated compared to novel presentations. The BOLD signal, as measured by water peak amplitude changes, showed significant difference between Task and Rest trials, and, on a GLM based analysis of the time series, demonstrated a significant difference between the novel and repeated trials, however appeared to be decoupled from the glutamate response as no correlation was found between the two. These results are the first demonstration that reductions in neuronal activity typical of repetition suppression effects are reflected by reduced glutamatergic and BOLD measures, that glutamate and BOLD responses may not be coupled as previously thought, and that these changes and relationships can be measured simultaneously using event-related fMRS at 3T.