Higher striatal glutamate in male youth with internet gaming disorder.

Klar, Johanna; Slotboom, Johannes; Lerch, Stefan; Koenig, Julian; Wiest, Roland; Kaess, Michael; Kindler, Jochen (2024). Higher striatal glutamate in male youth with internet gaming disorder. European archives of psychiatry and clinical neuroscience, 274(2), pp. 301-309. Springer 10.1007/s00406-023-01651-5

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Internet gaming disorder (IGD) was included in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) as a research diagnosis, but little is known about its pathophysiology. Alterations in frontostriatal circuits appear to play a critical role in the development of addiction. Glutamate is considered an essential excitatory neurotransmitter in addictive disorders. This study's aim was to investigate striatal glutamate in youth with IGD compared to healthy controls (HC). Using a cross-sectional design, 25 adolescent male subjects fulfilling DSM-5 criteria for IGD and 26 HC, matched in age, education, handedness and smoking, were included in the analysis. A structural MPRAGE T1 sequence followed by a single-voxel magnetic resonance spectroscopy MEGA-PRESS sequence (TR = 1500 ms, TE = 68 ms, 208 averages) with a voxel size of 20 mm3 were recorded on 3 T Siemens Magnetom Prisma scanner. The voxel was placed in the left striatum. Group comparison of the relative glutamate and glutamine (Glx) was calculated using regression analysis. IGD subjects met an average of 6.5 of 9 DSM-5 IGD criteria and reported an average of 29 h of weekly gaming. Regression analysis showed a significant group effect for Glx, with higher Glx levels in IGD as compared to HC (coef. = .086, t (50) = 2.17, p = .035). Our study is the first to show higher levels of Glx in the striatum in youth with IGD. The elevation of Glx in the striatum may indicate hyperactivation of the reward system in IGD. Thus, results confirm that neurochemical alterations can be identified in early stages of behavioral addictions.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


04 Faculty of Medicine > University Psychiatric Services > University Hospital of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and Psychotherapy
04 Faculty of Medicine > Department of Radiology, Neuroradiology and Nuclear Medicine (DRNN) > Institute of Diagnostic and Interventional Neuroradiology

UniBE Contributor:

Klar, Johanna, Slotboom, Johannes, Lerch, Stefan, Koenig, Julian, Wiest, Roland Gerhard Rudi, Kaess, Michael, Kindler, Jochen


600 Technology > 610 Medicine & health








Pubmed Import

Date Deposited:

02 Aug 2023 15:56

Last Modified:

06 Mar 2024 00:12

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Uncontrolled Keywords:

Glutamate Internet gaming disorder MR-spectroscopy Reward system Striatum





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