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Original Research

Brain metabolite rates in amygdala and hippocampus in vaginismus patients

Mehmet Fatih Erbay, Esra Porgali Zayman.


Vaginismus has complex etiology. Regarding its clinical manifestation, it is a condition associated with anxiety and fear. The fact that hippocampus and amygdala are critical regions for the modulation of anxiety suggests that they might be playing a role in the neurobiology of vaginismus. In the present study, therefore, we aimed to investigate the concentrations of cerebral metabolites in both the amygdala and hippocampus in vaginismus patients and healthy controls via magnetic resonance spectroscopy method. A total of 39 vaginismus patients and 26 sexually active healthy controls were enrolled into the study. All the patients and healthy controls underwent magnetic resonance spectroscopy procedure. Comparison of the groups revealed no difference in terms of concentrations of cerebral metabolites in the amygdala, whereas median Cholin (Cho) concentration in the hippocampus was significantly higher in the patient vs. the control group. High concentration of Cho in the hippocampus of vaginismus patients might be indicating the changes in myelination or signal transduction in the relevant region. Considering the role of the hippocampus in fear con-ditioning and fear memory, such changes in the patients are considered as the neurobiological reflections of fear conditioning. Repeated and further studies will further contribute to the clarification of this subject.

Key words: Vaginismus, hippocampus, amygdala, magnetic resonance spectroscopy

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