The accuracy of whole brain N-acetylaspartate quantification

Magn Reson Imaging. 2000 Dec;18(10):1255-8. doi: 10.1016/s0730-725x(00)00221-6.


A non-localizing pulse sequence to quantify the total amount of N-acetylaspartate (NAA) in the whole brain (WBNAA) was introduced recently [Magn. Reson. Med. 40, 684-689 (1998)]. However, it is known that regional magnetic field inhomogeneities, deltaB0s, arising from susceptibility differences at tissue interfaces, shift and broaden local resonances to outside the integration window, leading to an underestimation of the true amount of NAA in the entire brain. To quantify the upper limit of this loss, the whole-head proton MR spectrum (1H-MRS) of the water was integrated over the same frequency width as the NAA. The ratio of this area/total-water-line was 75 +/- 5% in 5 volunteers. The procedure was repeated with the brain-only water peak, obtained by summing signals only from voxels within that organ from a three-dimensional chemical-shift-imaging (3D CSI) set. It indicated that <10% of the water signal loss occurred in the brain. Therefore, by analogy, WBNAA accounts for >90% of that metabolite.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aspartic Acid / analogs & derivatives*
  • Aspartic Acid / analysis*
  • Brain / metabolism*
  • Brain Chemistry
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy*
  • Male
  • Protons
  • Reproducibility of Results


  • Protons
  • Aspartic Acid
  • N-acetylaspartate