Clin Psychopharmacol Neurosci 2018; 16(3): 276-281  
Decreased Serum Glutamate Levels in Male Adults with Internet Gaming Disorder: A Pilot Study
Soo-Hyun Paik, Mi Ran Choi, Su Min Kwak, Sol Hee Bang, Dai-Jin Kim
Department of Psychiatry, Seoul St. Mary’s Hospital, College of Medicine, The Catholic University of Korea, Seoul, Korea
Correspondence to: Dai-Jin, Kim, MD, PhD
Department of Psychiatry, Seoul St. Mary’s Hospital, College of Medicine, The Catholic University of Korea, 222 Banpo-daero, Seocho-gu, Seoul 06591, Korea
Tel: +82-2-2258-7586, Fax: +82-2-594-3870
Received: April 24, 2017; Revised: May 29, 2017; Accepted: June 27, 2017; Published online: August 31, 2018.
© The Korean College of Neuropsychopharmacology. All rights reserved.

This is an Open-Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License ( which permits unrestricted non-commercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Objective: Alteration in glutamatergic neurotransmission and dopaminergic dysfunction has been implicated in both the initiation and expression of addiction related behaviors. This pilot study was aimed to investigate the serum levels of glutamate and dopamine in adults with internet gaming disorder (IGD).
Methods: We measured serum levels of glutamate and dopamine in male participants with IGD (n=26) and age-matched healthy controls (n=25). Clinical interviews were performed to identify IGD and to rule out psychiatric comorbidities. Serum levels of glutamate and dopamine were examined by enzyme immunoassays using ELISA Kits.
Results: Serum levels of glutamate were lower among IGD than control (IGD: 24.184±12.303 μg/ml; control: 33.676±12.413 μg/ml; t=2.742, p=0.008), while levels of dopamine did not differ between. Serum glutamate and dopamine levels did not correlate with gaming hours and exposure to game in the IGD group. But serum glutamate levels were positively correlated with the dopamine levels (r=0.360, p=0.013).
Conclusion: Our results suggest that altered glutamatergic neurotransmission may contribute to the pathophysiology of IGD.
Keywords: Internet gaming disorder; Glutamates; Dopamine; Serum.

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