Background/Aims: This study used proton magnetic resonance spectroscopy (1H MRS) to evaluate the neurochemistry of the anterior cingulate cortex (ACC) in adolescents with generalized anxiety disorder (GAD). Methods: Adolescents with GAD (n = 10) and healthy subjects (n = 10) underwent a 1H MRS scan at 4 T. Glutamate (Glu), N-acetyl aspartate, creatine (Cr) and myo-inositol concentrations were measured in the ACC and were compared between untreated adolescents with GAD and age- and sex-matched healthy subjects. Results: Glu/Cr ratios in the ACC correlated with the severity of both generalized anxiety symptoms on the Pediatric Anxiety Rating Scale and with total anxiety symptom severity as measured by the Hamilton Anxiety Rating Scale, but did not differ between adolescents with GAD and healthy subjects. In addition, no differences in N-acetyl aspartate, Cr, or myo-inositol were detected between groups. Conclusion: These findings suggest that Glu/Cr in untreated adolescents with GAD may relate to the severity of anxiety symptoms and raise the possibility that dysregulation of Glu within the ACC may be linked to the pathophysiology of pediatric GAD.
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