Effect of basal ganglia injury on central dopamine activity in Gulf War syndrome: Correlation of proton magnetic resonance spectroscopy and plasma homovanillic acid levels

Robert W. Haley, James L. Fleckenstein, W. Wesley Marshall, George G. McDonald, Gerald L. Kramer, Frederick Petty

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

57 Scopus citations

Abstract

Background: Many complaints of Gulf War veterans are compatible with a neurologic illness involving the basal ganglia. Methods: In 12 veterans with Haley Gulf War syndrome 2 and in 15 healthy control veterans of similar age, sex, and educational level, we assessed functioning neuronal mass in both basal ganglia by measuring the ratio of N-acetyl-aspartate to creatine with proton magnetic resonance spectroscopy. Central dopamine activity was assessed by measuring the ratio of plasma homovanillic acid (HVA) and 3-methoxy-4-hydroxyphenlyglycol (MHPG). Results: The logarithm of the age-standardized HVA/ MHPG ratio was inversely associated with functioning neuronal mass in the left basal ganglia (R2=0.56; F1,27=33.82; P<.001) but not with that in the right (R2= 0.04; F1,26= 1.09; P =.30). Controlling for age, renal clearances of creatinine and weak organic anions, handedness, and smoking did not substantially alter the associations. Conclusions: The reduction in functioning neuronal mass in the left basal ganglia of these veterans with Gulf War syndrome seems to have altered central dopamine production in a lateralized pattern. This finding supports the theory that Gulf War syndrome is a neurologic illness, in part related to injury to dopaminergic neurons in the basal ganglia.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1280-1285
Number of pages6
JournalArchives of neurology
Volume57
Issue number9
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2000

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Clinical Neurology

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