Basal ganglia choline levels in depression and response to fluoxetine treatment: an in vivo proton magnetic resonance spectroscopy study

UMMS Affiliation

Department of Psychiatry

Publication Date


Document Type



Adult; Antidepressive Agents, Second-Generation; Basal Ganglia; Choline; Depression; Female; Fluoxetine; Humans; Image Interpretation, Computer-Assisted; Magnetic Resonance Imaging; Male; Psychiatric Status Rating Scales




We have investigated proton magnetic resonance spectra of the basal ganglia in 41 medication-free outpatients with major depression, prior to starting an 8-week standardized trial of open-label fluoxetine, and 22 matched comparison subjects. Upon completing the trial, depressed subjects were classified as treatment responders (n = 18) or nonresponders (n = 23), based on changes in the Hamilton Depression Rating Scale. Depressed subjects had a lower area ratio of the choline resonance to the creatine resonance (Cho/Cr) than comparison subjects. This statistically significant difference between the depressed subjects and comparison subjects was more pronounced in the treatment responders than in the nonresponders. There were no differences in the relative volumes of gray matter or white matter in the voxel used for proton spectroscopy in depressed subjects relative to comparison subjects. These results are consistent with an alteration in the metabolism of cytosolic choline compounds in the basal ganglia of depressed subjects and, in particular, those who are responsive to fluoxetine.

DOI of Published Version



Biol Psychiatry. 1997 Apr 15;41(8):837-43. Link to article on publisher's site

Journal/Book/Conference Title

Biological psychiatry

Related Resources

Link to Article in PubMed

PubMed ID