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© The Author(s) 2017.. Background: Whilst robust preclinical and postmortem evidence suggests that altered GABAergic function is central to the development of psychosis, little is known about whether it is altered in subjects at ultra-high risk of psychosis, or its relationship to prodromal symptoms. Methods: Twenty-one antipsychotic naïve ultra-high risk individuals and 20 healthy volunteers underwent proton magnetic resonance imaging at 3T. Gamma-aminobutyric acid levels were obtained from the medial prefrontal cortex using MEGAPRESS and expressed as peak-area ratios relative to the synchronously acquired creatine signal. Gamma-aminobutyric acid levels were then related to severity of positive and negative symptoms as measured with the Community Assessment of At-Risk Mental States. Results: Whilst we found no significant difference in gamma-aminobutyric acid levels between ultra-high risk subjects and healthy controls (P = .130), in ultra-high risk individuals, medial prefrontal cortex GABA levels were negatively correlated with the severity of negative symptoms (P = .013). Conclusion: These findings suggest that gamma-aminobutyric acidergic neurotransmission may be involved in the neurobiology of negative symptoms in the ultra-high risk state.

Original publication




Journal article


International Journal of Neuropsychopharmacology

Publication Date





114 - 119