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N-acetylaspartate normalization in bipolar depression after lamotrigine treatment

  • Author(s): Croarkin, PE
  • Thomas, MA
  • Port, JD
  • Baruth, JM
  • Choi, DS
  • Abulseoud, OA
  • Frye, MA
  • et al.

Published Web Location

https://doi.org/10.1111/bdi.12285
Abstract

© 2014 John Wiley & Sons A/S. Objectives: The aim of the present study was to examine N-acetylaspartate (NAA), a general marker of neuronal viability, and total NAA (tNAA), the combined signal of NAA and N-acetylaspartylglutamate, in bipolar depression before and after lamotrigine treatment. Given that NAA is synthesized through direct acetylation of aspartate by acetyl-coenzyme A-l-aspartate-N-acetyltransferase, we hypothesized that treatment with lamotrigine would be associated with an increase in NAA level. Methods: Patients with bipolar depression underwent two-dimensional proton magnetic resonance spectroscopy of the anterior cingulate at baseline (n = 15) and after 12 weeks of lamotrigine treatment (n = 10). A group of age-matched healthy controls (n = 9) underwent scanning at baseline for comparison. Results: At baseline, patients with bipolar depression had significantly lower NAA [mean standard deviation (SD) = 1.13 (0.21); p = 0.02] than controls [mean (SD) = 1.37 (0.27)]. Significant increases in NAA [mean (SD) = 1.39 (0.21); p = 0.01] and tNAA [mean (SD) = 1.61 (0.25); p = 0.02] levels were found after 12 weeks of lamotrigine treatment. Conclusions: These data suggest an NAA deficit in bipolar depression that is normalized after lamotrigine treatment. Future research is warranted to evaluate whether baseline NAA level is a potential biomarker for identifying lamotrigine response patterns and whether this functional brain change has an associated clinical response.

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