13C isotopic labeling data were obtained by 1H-observed/13C-edited magnetic resonance spectroscopy in the human brain in vivo and analyzed using a mathematical model to determine metabolic rates in human grey matter and white matter. 22.5-cc and 56-cc voxels were examined for grey matter and white matter, respectively. When partial volume effects were ignored, the measured tricarboxylic acid cycle rate was 0.72+/-0.22 (mean +/- SD) and 0.29+/-0.09 micromol min(-1) g(-1) (mean +/- SD) in voxels of approximately 70% grey and approximately 70% white matter, respectively. After correction for partial volume effects using a model with two tissue compartments, the tricarboxylic acid cycle rate in pure grey matter was higher (0.80+/-0.10 mol min(-1) g(-1); mean +/- SD) and in white matter was significantly lower (0.17+/-0.01 micromol min(-1) g(-1); mean +/- SD). In 1H-observed/13C-edited magnetic resonance spectroscopy labeling studies, the larger concentrations of labeled metabolites and faster metabolic rates in grey matter biased the measurements heavily toward grey matter, with labeling time courses in 70% grey matter appearing nearly identical to labeling in pure grey matter.