Proton MRS at 3 tesla reveals altered neurochemistry in smokers
Schubert F, Seifert F, Bajbouj M, Gallinat J
We compared neurochemical parameters in smokers and healthy nonsmokers. MRS at 3T was performed in 13 subjects of each group, acquiring PRESS spectra from the left hippocampus and the anterior cingulate, and quantifying concentrations of choline-containing compounds (tCho), creatine+phosphocreatine, NAA, and glutamate. The NAA level in hippocampus was lower in smokers than in nonsmokers (p=0.023), and the concentration of tCho in the cingulate was positively correlated with the amount of smoking (p=0.002). These results are in line with growing evidence that hippocampal neurons are susceptible to neurotoxic nicotine effects, and may indicate membrane alterations in cortical regions of heavy smokers.