Regional metabolite concentrations in human brain as determined by quantitative localized proton MRS

Petra J.W. Pouwels, Jens Frahm

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The regional distribution of brain metabolites was studied in several cortical white and gray matter areas, cerebellum, and thalamus of young adults with use of quantitative single-voxel proton MRS at 2.0 T. Whereas the neuronal compound N-acetylaspartate is distributed homogeneously throughout the brain, N-acetylaspartylglutamate increases caudally and exhibits higher concentrations in white matter than in gray matter. Creatine, myo-inositol, glutamate, and glutamine are less concentrated in cortical white matter than in gray matter. The highest creatine levels are found in cerebellum, parallel to the distribution of creatine kinase and energy-requiring processes in the brain. Also myo-inositol has highest concentrations in the cerebellum. Choline-containing compounds exhibit a marked regional variability with again highest concentrations in cerebellum and lowest levels and a strong caudally decreasing gradient in gray matter. The present findings neither support a metabolic gender difference (except for a 1.3-fold higher myo-inositol level in parietal white matter of female subjects) nor a metabolic hemispheric asymmetry.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)53-60
Number of pages8
JournalMagnetic resonance in medicine
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 1998
Externally publishedYes


  • Brain metabolism
  • Cerebral metabolite distribution
  • Proton spectroscopy

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