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Sex- and sex hormone-related variations in energy-metabolic frontal brain asymmetries : a magnetic resonance spectroscopy study.

Hjelmervik, H. and Hausmann, M. and Craven, A. R. and Hirnstein, M. and Hugdahl, K. and Specht, K. (2018) 'Sex- and sex hormone-related variations in energy-metabolic frontal brain asymmetries : a magnetic resonance spectroscopy study.', NeuroImage., 172 . pp. 817-825.

Abstract

Creatine is a key regulator of brain energy homeostasis, and well-balanced creatine metabolism is central in healthy brain functioning. Still, the variability of brain creatine metabolism is largely unattended in magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS) research. In the human brain, marginal sex differences in creatine levels have been found in the prefrontal cortex. It is however not known to what degree these sex differences are stable or change with varying gonadal hormone levels. The current study therefore investigated creatine in the prefrontal cortex across the menstrual cycle. In addition, we explored cerebral asymmetries. Creatine, Choline (Cho), N-acetylaspartate (NAA), Myo inositol (mI), and glutamate + glutamine (Glx) were assessed three times in 15 women and 14 men using MRS. Women were tested in cycle phases of varying hormone levels (menstrual, follicular, and luteal phase). Prefrontal creatine was found to change across the menstrual cycle, in a hemisphere-specific manner. Women in the follicular phase showed increased left prefrontal creatine accompanied with reduced right prefrontal creatine, while this asymmetry was not present in the luteal phase. In men, the creatine levels remained stable across three testing sessions. In general, both men and women were found to have higher creatine levels in the left as compared to the right prefrontal cortex. Exploratory analyses of other metabolites showed similar asymmetries in NAA, Cho, and mI, while Cho also showed a menstrual cycle effect. This is the first time that sex hormone-related changes in creatine metabolism have been demonstrated in the human brain. These findings may have important methodological implications for MRS research, as it supports previous concerns against uncritical usage of creatine as a reference measure for other metabolites, assumed to be invariant across individuals and conditions

Item Type:Article
Full text:(AM) Accepted Manuscript
Available under License - Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial No Derivatives.
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Available under License - Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial No Derivatives.
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Status:Peer-reviewed
Publisher Web site:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.neuroimage.2018.01.043
Publisher statement:© 2018 University of Bergen. This is an open access article under the CC BY-NC-ND license (http://creativecommons.org/
Date accepted:17 January 2018
Date deposited:30 January 2018
Date of first online publication:31 January 2018
Date first made open access:27 March 2018

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