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Acute Hyperglycemia Increases Brain Pregenual Anterior Cingulate Cortex Glutamate Concentrations in Type 1 Diabetes Mellitus

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posted on 15.04.2020 by Ada Admin, Nicolas R. Bolo, Alan M. Jacobson, Gail Musen, Matcheri S. Keshavan, Donald C. Simonson
The brain mechanisms underlying the association of hyperglycemia with depressive symptoms are unknown. We hypothesized that disrupted glutamate metabolism in pregenual anterior cingulate cortex (ACC) in type 1 diabetes (T1D) without depression affects emotional processing. Using proton magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS), we measured glutamate concentrations in ACC and occipital cortex (OCC) in 13 T1D without major depression (HbA1c=7.1±0.7% [54±7mmol/mol]) and 11 healthy non-diabetic controls (HbA1c=5.5±0.2% [37±3mmol/mol]) during fasting euglycemia (EU) followed by a 60-minute +5.5mmol/l hyperglycemic clamp (HG). Intrinsic neuronal activity was assessed using resting-state blood oxygen level dependent functional MRI to measure the fractional amplitude of low frequency fluctuations in slow-band 4 (fALFF4). Emotional processing and depressive symptoms were assessed using emotional tasks (Emotional-Stroop, Self-Referent-Encoding-Task SRET) and clinical ratings (HAM-D, SCL-90-R), respectively. During HG, ACC glutamate increased (1.2mmol/kg, +10%, p=0.014) while ACC fALFF4 was unchanged (-0.007, -2%, p=0.449) in T1D; in contrast, glutamate was unchanged (-0.2mmol/kg, -2%, p=0.578) while fALFF4 decreased (-0.05, -13%, p=0.002) in controls. OCC glutamate and fALFF4 were unchanged in both groups. T1D had longer SRET negative-word response-times (p=0.017) and higher depression-rating scores (HAM-D p=0.020; SCL-90-R-depression p=0.008). Higher glutamate change tended to associate with longer Emotional-Stroop response-times in T1D only. Brain glutamate must be tightly controlled during hyperglycemia due to the risk for neurotoxicity with excessive levels. Results suggest that ACC glutamate control mechanisms are disrupted in T1D, which affects glutamatergic neurotransmission related to emotional or cognitive processing. Increased prefrontal glutamate during acute hyperglycemic episodes could explain our previous findings of associations between chronic hyperglycemia, cortical thinning and depressive symptoms in T1D.

Funding

This study was supported by: 1) NIH grant R01-DK084202 to NRB, 2) the Harvard Catalyst and Harvard Clinical and Translational Science Center (National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences, National Institutes of Health Award UL1 TR001102 and National Center for Research Resources, National Institutes of Health Award UL1RR025758), and 3) financial contributions from Harvard University and its affiliated academic healthcare centers.

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