Proton magnetic resonance spectroscopy of brain biopsies from patients with intractable epilepsy

Epilepsy Res. 1999 Jul;35(3):211-7. doi: 10.1016/s0920-1211(99)00011-x.


In the present study metabolite concentrations were determined by proton magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS) in biopsies obtained from patients suffering intractable epilepsy from several different causes. Seven patients had gliosis, four had mild cortical dysplasia, three had tuberous sclerosis, two had astrocytomas, and one had a cavernous angioma. No significant differences were found in gliotic tissue in comparison with controls except for an increase in lactate. However, in the subgroup with tuberous sclerosis an increase was found in GABA and a dramatic decrease in N-acetyl aspartate (NAA). The most marked changes were found in the group with mild cortical dysplasia. There was a considerable decrease in NAA as well as large increases in GABA, alanine, tyrosine, acetate, inositol, glucose and lactate. The GABA content did not appear to correlate with antiepileptic therapy. Moreover, since all these patients required surgery, an elevated GABA level does not necessarily provide protection from seizures. The results indicate that use of proton MRS could become a useful presurgical predictor of underlying pathology.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aspartic Acid / analogs & derivatives
  • Aspartic Acid / chemistry
  • Aspartic Acid / metabolism
  • Biopsy
  • Brain / pathology
  • Brain Chemistry / physiology*
  • Child
  • Epilepsy / metabolism*
  • Epilepsy / pathology
  • Female
  • Glucose / chemistry
  • Glucose / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neurotransmitter Agents / chemistry
  • Neurotransmitter Agents / metabolism
  • gamma-Aminobutyric Acid / chemistry
  • gamma-Aminobutyric Acid / metabolism


  • Neurotransmitter Agents
  • Aspartic Acid
  • gamma-Aminobutyric Acid
  • N-acetylaspartate
  • Glucose