In Vivo Brain Glutathione is Higher in Older Age and Correlates with Mobility

K. E. Hupfeld, H. W. Hyatt, P. Alvarez Jerez, M. Mikkelsen, C. J. Hass, R. A.E. Edden, R. D. Seidler, E. C. Porges

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Brain markers of oxidative damage increase with advancing age. In response, brain antioxidant levels may also increase with age, although this has not been well investigated. Here, we used edited magnetic resonance spectroscopy to quantify endogenous levels of glutathione (GSH, one of the most abundant brain antioxidants) in 37 young [mean: 21.8 (2.5) years; 19 female] and 23 older adults [mean: 72.8 (8.9) years; 19 female]. Accounting for age-related atrophy, we identified higher frontal and sensorimotor GSH levels for the older compared with the younger adults. For the older adults only, higher sensorimotor (but not frontal) GSH was correlated with poorer balance and gait. This suggests a regionally specific relationship between higher brain oxidative stress levels and motor performance declines with age. We suggest these findings reflect an upregulation of GSH in response to increasing brain oxidative stress with normal aging. Together, these results provide insight into age differences in brain antioxidant levels and implications for motor function.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)4576-4594
Number of pages19
JournalCerebral Cortex
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 1 2021


  • Hadamard Encoding and Reconstruction of MEGA-Edited Spectroscopy (HERMES)
  • aging
  • balance
  • edited magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS)
  • gait
  • glutathione (GSH)

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience


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