You are here

Type 1 Diabetes and Depression: Role of Brain Glutamate

The research of this study is focused on elucidating the relationship between the perturbations in glucose metabolism associated with T1DM and the higher prevalence of major depressive episodes in this patient population. Converging evidence associating high brain levels of glutamate with T1DM and depression leads to the hypothesis that the link between diabetes-related glucose metabolic disorders and depression is excessive brain glutamate. The overarching aim of the study is to examine the effect of chronic and acute hyperglycemia in T1DM on brain glutamate levels. Four subject groups were studied and characterized: T1DM patients with and without concurrent depressive symptoms, and non-diabetic subjects with and without concurrent depressive symptoms. Two brain regions were examined : the anterior cingulate cortex (ACC), known to play an essential role in the regulation of emotions, and a control occipital cortex region. Regional brain glutamate concentrations were measured using high-field (3 Tesla) localized multidimensional magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS), regional indices of brain function were assessed using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), concurrent depression symptom severity and depression history were evaluated using psychiatric assessment, extensive medical evaluation of patients was performed including evaluation of glycemic control (HbA1c), evaluation of behavioral performance on emotional and cognitive tasks and evaluation of regional brain cortical thickness using high-resolution structural MRI. For all subjects, MRS brain glutamate was assessed during basal euglycemia and, for a subset of subjects per group, during an acute hyperglycemic clamp. To control for potential confounding effects of hyperinsulinemia, brain glutamate was also assessed during a euglycemic hyperinsulinemic clamp in a subset of healthy controls without diabetes or depressive symptoms.