Regional metabolite levels of the normal posterior fossa studied by proton chemical shift imaging

MAGMA. 2001 Oct;13(2):127-33. doi: 10.1007/BF02668161.


MR spectroscopy of the posterior fossa is pitted with numerous technical difficulties. It is, however, of great clinical interest in the study of the degenerative diseases and tumors of this area. We have developed a method to perform 2D CSI of this area, by using a sagittal slice and a careful positioning of outer volume saturation. We performed this acquisition in 30 healthy volunteers to determine the normal metabolic ratios in five voxels of this area (mesencephalon, pons, medulla oblongata, vermis, cerebellar white matter). The main technical difficulty was magnetic field inhomogeneity in the lower brainstem generated by dental alloys. However, 88% of the voxels were of sufficient quality to be analyzed. The statistically significant regional variations were a higher NAA/Cr ratio in the pons than in the medulla oblongata, higher Cho/Cr in the pons than in the mesencephalon and higher Cho/Cr in the cerebellar white matter than in the vermis. We conclude that 2D CSI of the brainstem, although technically delicate can be performed in most patients.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Brain / pathology*
  • Brain / physiology
  • Brain Stem / pathology*
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging / methods*
  • Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy / instrumentation*
  • Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy / methods*
  • Protons*
  • Software


  • Protons