Research Output
Altered relationship between prefrontal glutamate and activation during cognitive control in people with high trait anxiety
  Trait anxiety can affect cognitive control resulting in ineffective and/or inefficient task performance. Moreover, previous functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI) studies have reported altered dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC) activity in anxious cohorts, particularly when executive control is required. Recently, it has been demonstrated that cortical glutamate levels can predict both functional activation during cognitive control, and anxiety levels. In the present study we sought to investigate the relationship between trait anxiety, prefrontal glutamate levels and functional activation in DLPFC during a cognitive control task. Thirty-nine participants assigned to either low trait anxiety (LTA) or high trait anxiety (HTA) groups underwent 1H-Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy (1H-MRS) to measure levels of resting glutamate in the prefrontal cortex (PFC). Participants also completed fMRI during a Stroop task comprising congruent and incongruent colour word trials. The HTA group showed reduced task performance relative to the LTA group. In the LTA group, there was a positive association between PFC Glu levels and DLPFC activation during incongruent trials. This association was absent in the HTA group. Individual differences in trait anxiety affect the relationship between PFC glutamate levels and DLPFC activation, possibly contributing to ineffective task performance when cognitive control is required.

  • Type:


  • Date:

    07 March 2019

  • Publication Status:


  • Publisher

    Elsevier BV

  • DOI:


  • Cross Ref:


  • ISSN:


  • Library of Congress:

    RC0321 Neuroscience. Biological psychiatry. Neuropsychiatry

  • Dewey Decimal Classification:

    616.8 Nervous & mental disorders

  • Funders:

    British Academy/Leverhulme Trust Research; Takeda Pharmaceuticals U.S.A.; Janssen; Lundbeck


Morgenroth, E., Orlov, N., Lythgoe, D. J., Stone, J. M., Barker, H., Munro, J., …Allen, P. (2019). Altered relationship between prefrontal glutamate and activation during cognitive control in people with high trait anxiety. Cortex, 117, 53-63.



Experimental and Cognitive Psychology; Cognitive Neuroscience; Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology

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