Glutamate is the major excitatory neurotransmitter in the mammalian central nervous system and has been associated with several cognitive functions that are known to change with age. In rodents and humans age-related glutamate changes have been found in several brain areas. In this cross-sectional study the presence and extent of age-associated glutamate changes in the medial frontal cortex of healthy young adults were measured. Proton magnetic resonance spectroscopy (1H-MRS) and brain imaging were performed at 7T in a 2×2×2cm3 voxel in 33 participants between 18 and 31 years old. Glutamate concentrations and grey and white matter volume could be successfully determined at an ultra-high magnetic field strength. Glutamate concentrations were lower in older individuals (0.33mM/year). This decline is in line with grey matter thinning in the medial frontal cortex, but could not be explained by cortical thinning alone. Therefore, the decrease in glutamate in young adulthood may be due to physiological changes rather than anatomical changes.
- Magnetic resonance spectroscopy