A short-echo-time proton magnetic resonance spectroscopic imaging study of temporal lobe epilepsy

Epilepsia. 2002 Sep;43(9):1021-31. doi: 10.1046/j.1528-1157.2002.50701.x.


Purpose: We used short-echo-time proton magnetic resonance spectroscopy imaging (MRSI) to study metabolite concentration variation through the temporal lobe in patients with temporal lobe epilepsy (TLE) with and without abnormal MRI.

Methods: MRSI was performed at TE = 30 ms to study 10 control subjects, 10 patients with TLE and unilateral hippocampal sclerosis, and 10 patients with TLE and unremarkable MRI (MRI negative). We measured the concentrations of N-acetyl aspartate +N-acetyl aspartyl-glutamate (NAAt), creatine (Cr), choline (Cho), glutamate + glutamine (Glx), and myoinositol, in the anterior, middle, and posterior medial temporal lobe (MTL), and in the posterior lateral temporal lobe. Segmented volumetric T1-weighted MRIs gave the tissue composition of each MRSI voxel. Normal ranges were defined as the control mean +/- 3 SD.

Results: In the hippocampal sclerosis group, seven of 10 had abnormally low NAAt in the ipsilateral anterior MTL. In the MRI-negative group, four of 10 had low NAAt in the middle MTL voxel ipsilateral to seizure onset. Metabolite ratios were less sensitive to abnormality than was the NAAt concentration. Group analysis showed low NAAt, Cr, and Cho in the anterior MTL in hippocampal sclerosis. Glx was elevated in the anterior voxel contralateral to seizure onset in the MRI-negative group. Metabolite concentrations were influenced by voxel position and tissue composition.

Conclusions: (a) Low NAAt, Cr, and Cho were features of the anterior sclerotic hippocampus, whereas low NAAt was observed in the MRI-negative group in the middle MTL region. The posterior temporal lobe regions were not associated with significant metabolite abnormality; (b) The two patient groups demonstrated different metabolite profiles across the temporal lobe, with elevated Glx a feature of the MRI-negative group; and (c) Voxel tissue composition and position influenced obtained metabolite concentrations.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Comparative Study
  • Controlled Clinical Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aspartic Acid / analogs & derivatives*
  • Aspartic Acid / metabolism
  • Choline / metabolism
  • Creatine / metabolism
  • Epilepsy, Temporal Lobe / diagnosis*
  • Epilepsy, Temporal Lobe / metabolism
  • Female
  • Functional Laterality / physiology
  • Glutamates / metabolism
  • Glutamine / metabolism
  • Hippocampus / metabolism
  • Hippocampus / pathology
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging / statistics & numerical data
  • Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy* / methods
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Sclerosis
  • Temporal Lobe / metabolism*
  • Tissue Distribution


  • Glutamates
  • Glutamine
  • Aspartic Acid
  • N-acetylaspartate
  • Creatine
  • Choline