Iranian Journal of Psychiatry 2018. 13(3):215-221.

Effect of Adjuvant Electroconvulsive Therapy Compared to Antipsychotic Medication Alone on the Brain Metabolites of Patients with Chronic Schizophrenia: A Proton Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy Study
Mehrzad Lotfi, mehdi ghaderian jahromi, Ali Firoozabadi, Leila Razeghian Jahromi


Objective: Schizophrenia is a common psychiatric disease and is characterized by changes in several brain metabolites detectable by magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS). Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) is a general method of management for most severe psychiatric conditions that may play a role in changing the brain metabolites. This study examined the effectiveness of adjuvant ECT with oral medication compared to that of oral second generation antipsychotic medication alone on brain metabolites in patients with chronic schizophrenia.

Method: This study was conducted on 20 patients with chronic schizophrenia who were admitted to a hospital; of them, 10 underwent ECT as an adjuvant therapy with oral medication at least 8 times, and 10 patients were given a second- generation antipsychotic therapy drug (risperidone and olanzapine) without ECT for at least 4 weeks. MRS was used to assess brain metabolites, including N-acetyl aspartate (NAA), choline (Cho), creatine (Cr), myoinositol (MI), and Glx (glutamate [Glu] and glutamine [Gln]), in the left prefrontal cortex, left thalamus, left hippocampus, and left occipital cortex. Differences between the 2 groups were not significant, except for method of treatment.

Results: The NAA/Cr ratio in the left prefrontal cortex was significantly higher in ECT-treated patients (P = 0.035). In addition, the Cho/Cr ratios in the left prefrontal cortex and left thalamus were statisticaly lower in the ECT-treated patients than those treated with oral antipsychotic drugs alone (P = 0.019). No statistically significant changes were observed between the 2 groups in other sites of the brain. In addition, no statistically significant differences were detected between the 2 groups in SAPS and DES scores.

Conclusion: Compared to oral antipsychotic drug treatment, ECT had improving effects on at least 2 metabolites in the brains of patients with schizophrenia. Therefore, ECT may have a neuroprotective effect in these patients.


Brain Metabolites, Electroconvulsive Therapy, Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy, Schizophrenia

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