Anterior cingulate glutamate metabolites as a predictor of antipsychotic response in first episode psychosis: data from the STRATA collaboration

Alice Egerton*, Kira Griffiths, Cecila Casetta, Bill Deakin, Richard Drake, Oliver D. Howes, Laura Kassoumeri, Sobia Khan, Steve Lankshear, Jane Lees, Shon Lewis, Elena Mikulskaya, Edward Millgate, Ebenezer Oloyede, Rebecca Pollard, Nathalie Rich, Aviv Segev, Kyra Verena Sendt, James H. MacCabe

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


Elevated brain glutamate has been implicated in non-response to antipsychotic medication in schizophrenia. Biomarkers that can accurately predict antipsychotic non-response from the first episode of psychosis (FEP) could allow stratification of patients; for example, patients predicted not to respond to standard antipsychotics could be fast-tracked to clozapine. Using proton magnetic resonance spectroscopy (1H-MRS), we examined the ability of glutamate and Glx (glutamate plus glutamine) in the anterior cingulate cortex (ACC) and caudate to predict response to antipsychotic treatment. A total of 89 minimally medicated patients with FEP not meeting symptomatic criteria for remission were recruited across two study sites. 1H-MRS and clinical data were acquired at baseline, 2 and 6 weeks. Response was defined as >20% reduction in Positive and Negative Syndrome Scale (PANSS) Total score from baseline to 6 weeks. In the ACC, baseline glutamate and Glx were higher in Non-Responders and significantly predicted response (P < 0.02; n = 42). Overall accuracy was greatest for ACC Glx (69%) and increased to 75% when symptom severity at baseline was included in the model. Glutamate metabolites in the caudate were not associated with response, and there was no significant change in glutamate metabolites over time in either region. These results add to the evidence linking elevations in ACC glutamate metabolites to a poor antipsychotic response. They indicate that glutamate may have utility in predicting response during early treatment of first episode psychosis. Improvements in accuracy may be made by combining glutamate measures with other response biomarkers.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)567-575
Number of pages9
JournalNeuropsychopharmacology : official publication of the American College of Neuropsychopharmacology
Issue number3
Early online date1 Dec 2022
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2023


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