Research Highlight

Tracking brain oxidative stress

doi:10.1038/nindia.2011.175 Published online 30 November 2011

Researchers have used a new technique to quantify oxidative stress in human brain by employing non-invasive imaging. They successfully tracked Glutathione (GSH), which serves as an important anti-oxidant in the brain, in young people as well as patients with Alzheimer's Disease using the technique.

GSH scavenges harmful reactive oxygen species generated during different molecular processes in the brain. GSH level, therefore, is indicative of the oxidative stress of the brain.

The researchers detected GSH in vivo using magnetic resonance spectroscopy in various brain regions of healthy men and women and from bi-lateral frontal cortex in patients with mild cognitive impairment (MCI) and Alzheimer's disease (AD).

Overall mean GSH content was found to be higher in healthy young females compared to healthy young male subjects. GSH was distributed differently in two hemispheres among male and female subjects. In AD and MCI patients, the researchers found a decrease in GSH levels. Statistical analysis indicated significant depletion of GSH in left frontal cortex region in female AD patients and right frontal cortex region in male AD patients.

Lead researcher Pravat Kumar Mandal says it is a novel technique to quantify oxidative stress in various brain regions and has significant correlation with clinical status.


  1. Mandal, P. K. et al. Brain oxidative stress: Detection and mapping of anti-oxidant marker ‘Glutathione’ in different brain regions of healthy male/female, MCI and Alzheimer patients using non-invasive magnetic resonance spectroscopy. Biochem. Bioph. Res. Co. doi: 10.1016/j.bbrc.2011.11.047 (2011)