Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy in Depressed Subjects Treated With Electroconvulsive Therapy—A Systematic Review of Literature
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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Original versionFrontiers in Psychiatry. 2021, 12, 608857. 10.3389/fpsyt.2021.608857
Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) is considered to be the most effective acute treatment for otherwise treatment resistant major depressive episodes, and has been used for over 80 years. Still, the underlying mechanism of action is largely unknow. Several studies suggest that ECT affects the cerebral neurotransmitters, such as gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) and glutamate. Magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS) allows investigators to study neurotransmitters in vivo, and has been used to study neurochemical changes in the brain of patients treated with ECT. Several investigations have been performed on ECT-patients; however, no systematic review has yet summarized these findings. A systematic literature search based on the Prisma guidelines was performed. PubMed (Medline) was used in order to find investigations studying patients that had been treated with ECT and had undergone an MRS examination. A search in the databases Embase, PsycInfo, and Web of Science was also performed, leading to no additional records. A total of 30 records were identified and screened which resulted in 16 original investigations for review. The total number of patients that was included in these studies, ignoring potential overlap of samples in some investigations, was 325. The metabolites reported were N-acetyl aspartate, Choline, Myoinositol, Glutamate and Glutamine, GABA and Creatine. The strongest evidence for neurochemical change related to ECT, was found for N-acetyl aspartate (reduction), which is a marker of neuronal integrity. Increased choline and glutamate following treatment was also commonly reported.