Multislice, 2D proton spectroscopic imaging was performed in six healthy volunteers at long echo time (TE = 280 msec). The center of the most inferior of three slices was placed directly at the level of the line connecting the anterior and posterior commissures. Significant regional variations in metabolite levels were observed. In particular, based on statistical analysis, levels of choline were significantly high in insular cortex, thalamus, and centrum semiovale compared to other brain regions such as parietal or occipital gray and white matter. NAA levels were highest in the centrum semiovale white matter, while creatine levels were relatively constant. Globus pallidus exhibited lower signal intensities and increased linewidths for all metabolites. No spectra could be obtained from the inferior frontal lobe because of field inhomogeneity. These data show that the metabolism, and perhaps the underlying cellular composition, of thalamus and insular cortex appears to be different from other neocortical gray matter. Normal regional variations in the brain spectra should be considered when evaluating pathological conditions.