Alcohol consumption is associated with reduced creatine levels in the hippocampus of older adults.
Demnitz N., Topiwala A., Zsoldos E., Stagg CJ., Emir UE., Johansen-Berg H., Ebmeier KP., Sexton CE.
Besides its well established susceptibility to ageing, the hippocampus has also been shown to be affected by alcohol consumption. Proton spectroscopy (1H-MRS) of the hippocampus, particularly at high-field 7T MRI, may further our understanding of these associations. Here, we aimed to examine how hippocampal metabolites varied with age and alcohol consumption. Hippocampal metabolite spectra were acquired in 37 older adults using 7T 1H-MRS, from which we determined the absolute concentration of N-acetylaspartate (NAA), creatine, choline, myo-inositol, glutamate and glutamine. Thirty participants (mean age = 70.4 ± 4.7 years) also had self-reported data on weekly alcohol consumption. Total choline inversely correlated with age, although this did not survive multiple comparisons correction. Crucially, adults with a higher weekly alcohol consumption had significantly lower levels of creatine, suggesting a deficit in their hippocampal metabolism. These findings add to an increasing body of evidence linking alcohol to hippocampal function.