Altered Excitation-inhibition Balance in the Brain of Patients with Diabetic Neuropathy

Myria Petrou, Rodica Pop-Busui, Bradley R. Foerster, Richard A. Edden, Brian C. Callaghan, Steve E. Harte, Richard E. Harris, Daniel J. Clauw, Eva L. Feldman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

51 Scopus citations


Rationale and Objectives: To assess differences in excitatory (glutamate/glutamine or Glx) and inhibitory (γ-Aminobutyric acid or GABA) neurotransmitter levels using MR spectroscopy in pain processing regions of the brain in patients diabetic neuropathy (DN) and positive sensory symptoms and age-matched healthy control (HC) subjects. Materials and Methods: Seven diabetic patients (5 males, 2 females, mean age = 57.0 ± 8.5 years) with confirmed DN and positive sensory symptoms and 7 age and sex matched HC subjects (mean age = 57.7 ± 3.2 years) underwent 3 Tesla MR spectroscopy. Glx and GABA levels were quantified in the right anterior and posterior insula, anterior cingulate cortex and right thalamus. Results: Mean Glx levels were significantly higher and mean GABA levels were significantly lower within the posterior insula in the DN patients compared to HC (P = 0.005 and 0.012 respectively). Conclusions: This pilot data demonstrates an excitatory/inhibitory neurotransmitter imbalance in the brain of in patients with DN and positive sensory symptoms compared to pain free HC subjects.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)607-612
Number of pages6
JournalAcademic radiology
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2012


  • Diabetes
  • MR spectroscopy
  • Neuropathy
  • Pain

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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