Zu den Inhalten springen

Klinik für Psychiatrie und Psychotherapie

Research group Perlov / Tebartz van Elst

Molecular Imaging (MR-Spectroscopy)
Research group leader:Evgeniy Perlov / Ludger Tebartz van Elst
Phone: +49 (0)761 270 - 65010
Email: evgeniy.perlov@uniklinik-freiburg.de  /

Group members: Simon J. Maier
Dominique Endres
Cooperation Partner: Thomas Lange, Martin Büchert, Michael Dacko (MR-Physics), Andreas Joos (Psychosomatic medicine)

Research focus

The neurochemistry is of utmost importance in neuropsychiatric research, since the neurochemical alterations are thought to be central in the pathophysiology of the most psychiatric disorders. The research focus of the molecular imaging group concerns the detection of metabolic alteration in psychiatric disorders using the methods of the Magnet Resonance Spectroscopy (MRS).

The MRS is the unique non-invasive and non-radioactive method of in vivo detection of metabolites in the human brain. Using the single voxel spectroscopy with PRESS at 3 T MRT-Machine (Trio, Prisma, Siemens, Erlangen) we are currently able to detect the metabolic spectra of N-Acetyl-Aspartate (the marker of neuronal integrity), Creatine (energy metabolism), Choline (important membrane, white matter and acetyl-choline component), myo-Inositol (intracellular osmolyte marker) glutamate and glutamine (the most important excitatory neurotransmitter) and GABA (the most important inhibitory neurotransmitter) (Figure 1). 


The MR-Spectroscopy research started in our group at the beginning of 2000s with the first measurements in schizophrenia and later in borderline personality disorder. In the last years we are focusing on the neurometabolism of neurodevelopment disorders in psychiatry – the ADHD and autism spectrum disorder (ASD) in adults. We were able to perform the most comprehensive MRS-studies in this field, focusing on glutamatergic alterations as an evidence for hypothesis of disturbed excitatory/inhibitory balance. Additionally we have performed measurements of gluthation, the important antioxidant in the human brain, in ASD and ADHD. In cooperation with the clinic for psychosomatics we have also performed the first MRS-study in eating disorders.

Research projects

Recently completed:

  • Cross-sectional MR-Spectroscopy of ACC and cerebellum in adult ADHD (part of the multicenter COMPAS-Studie)
  • MR-Spectroscopy of ACC and cerebellum before and after treatment with psychostimulants in adult ADHD
  • MRS in adult high-functioning ASD with above average IQ
  • Gluthaion in adult high-functioning ASD


  • Simultaneous measurements of GABA and Glutamate in adult high-functioning ASD (DFG-granted)
  • Cooperation with Psychosomatics (A. Joos, S. Maier): Intimacy in Anorexia nervosa – MRS of the insula (DFG-granted)

 Planned Projects:

  • Effects of sleep-deprivation on GABA and Glutamate in healthy controls and in depressive patients (in cooperation with the sleep laboratory, PD Dr. Ch. Nissen)

Selected publications

  • Tebartz van Elst L, Maier S, Fangmeier T, Endres D, Mueller GT, Nickel K, Ebert D, Lange T, Hennig J, Biscaldi M, Riedel A, Perlov E. (2014) Disturbed cingulate glutamate metabolism in adults with high-functioning autism spectrum disorder: evidence in support of the excitatory/inhibitory imbalance hypothesis. Mol Psychiatry. 2014 Dec;19(12):1314-25.
  • Joos AA, Perlov E, Büchert M, Hartmann A, Saum B, Glauche V, Freyer T, Weber-Fahr W, Zeeck A, Tebartz van Elst L (2011) Magnetic resonance spectroscopy of the anterior cingulate cortex in eating disorders. Psychiatry Res. 2011 Mar 31;191(3):196-200.
  • Perlov E, Tebarzt van Elst L, Buechert M, Maier S, Matthies S, Ebert D, Hesslinger B, Philipsen A. (2010) H¹-MR-spectroscopy of cerebellum in adult attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder. J Psychiatr Res. 2010 Oct;44(14):938-43.
  • Rüsch N, Boeker M, Büchert M, Glauche V, Bohrmann C, Ebert D, Lieb K, Hennig J, Tebartz Van Elst L. (2010) Neurochemical alterations in women with borderline personality disorder and comorbid attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder. World J Biol Psychiatry. 2010 Mar;11(2 Pt 2):372-81.
  • Perlov E, Philipsen A, Matthies S, Drieling T, Maier S, Bubl E, Hesslinger B, Buechert M, Henning J, Ebert D, Tebartz Van Elst L. (2009) Spectroscopic findings in attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder: review and meta-analysis. World J Biol Psychiatry. 2009;10(4 Pt 2):355-65.
  • Perlov E, Philipsen A, Hesslinger B, Buechert M, Ahrendts J, Feige B, Bubl E, Hennig J, Ebert D, Tebartz van Elst L. (2007) Reduced cingulate glutamate/glutamine-to-creatine ratios in adult patients with attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder -- a magnet resonance spectroscopy study. J Psychiatr Res. 2007 Dec;41(11):934-41.
  • Rüsch N, Tebartz van Elst L, Valerius G, Büchert M, Thiel T, Ebert D, Hennig J, Olbrich HM. (2008) Neurochemical and structural correlates of executive dysfunction in schizophrenia. Schizophr Res. 2008 Feb;99(1-3):155-63.

Klinik für Psychiatrie und Psychotherapie

Hauptstraße 5
79104 Freiburg

Information: 0761 270-65010

Die Klinik in Bildern