Spectroscopic Imaging of the Uptake Kinetics of Human Brain Ethanol

Magn Reson Med. 1999 Dec;42(6):1019-26. doi: 10.1002/(sici)1522-2594(199912)42:6<1019::aid-mrm5>3.0.co;2-y.


Previous measurements of the ratio of brain to venous blood alcohol have ranged from 21-100%, depending on the experimental model, pulse sequence, and the concentration reference used. The goal of this study was to evaluate the uptake kinetics and visibility of brain ethanol in comparison to venous blood levels using a pulse sequence that minimizes uncertainties due to differences in J-modulation, T(1), and T(2) between ethanol and the concentration standard. This was achieved using a short TE (24 msec) spin echo sequence with a semiselective refocusing pulse to minimize J-modulation losses of the ethanol. Brain ethanol levels were measured with 10-min time resolution using a 16 x 16 spectroscopic imaging matrix with nominal voxels of 1.44 cc. During the course of the study, the brain/blood alcohol ratio declined from a value of 1.54 +/- 0.74 at 35 min after drinking to a final value of 0.93 +/- 0.16 at 85 min postdrinking. Magn Reson Med 42:1019-1026, 1999.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Brain / metabolism*
  • Central Nervous System Depressants / pharmacokinetics*
  • Ethanol / pharmacokinetics*
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy*
  • Male


  • Central Nervous System Depressants
  • Ethanol