In vivo γ-aminobutyric acid measurement in rats with spectral editing at 4.7T

Stephen J. Sawiak, Bianca Jupp, Tom Taylor, Daniele Caprioli, T. Adrian Carpenter, Jeffrey W. Dalley

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Purpose To evaluate the feasibility of spectral editing for quantification of γ-aminobutyric acid (GABA) in the rat brain and to determine whether altered GABA concentration in the ventral striatum is a neural endophenotype associated with trait-like impulsive behavior. Materials and Methods Spectra were acquired at 4.7T for 23 male Lister-hooded rats that had been previously screened for extremely low and high impulsivity phenotypes on an automated behavioral task (n = 11 low-impulsive; n = 12 high-impulsive). Voxels of 3 × 7 × 4 mm3 (84 μL) centered bilaterally across the ventral striatum were used to evaluate GABA concentration ratios. Results Quantifiable GABA signals in the ventral striatum were obtained for all rats. Mean-edited GABA to n-acetyl aspartate (NAA) ratios in the ventral striatum were 0.22 (95% confidence interval [CI] [0.18, 0.25]). Mean GABA/NAA ratios in this region were significantly decreased by 28% in high-impulsive rats compared to low-impulsive rats (P = 0.02; 95% CI [-53%, -2%]). Conclusion These findings demonstrate that spectral editing at 4.7T is a feasible method to assess in vivo GABA concentrations in the rat brain. The results show that diminished GABA content in the ventral striatum may be a neural endophenotype associated with impulsivity.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1308-1312
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Magnetic Resonance Imaging
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • behavior
  • GABA
  • nucleus accumbens
  • spectroscopy
  • striatum

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