High-resolution 3D proton spectroscopic imaging of the human brain at 3 T: SNR issues and application for anatomy-matched voxel sizes

Magn Reson Med. 2003 Feb;49(2):299-306. doi: 10.1002/mrm.10377.


In a systematic study on the interdependence of linewidth, signal-to-noise ratio (SNR), and spatial resolution in 3D proton spectroscopic imaging ((1)H-SI) at 3 T, we demonstrate reduced linewidths with increased spatial resolution due to reduced magnetic inhomogeneity within the brain. High-precision quantitative data (0.75-0.094 cm(3)) were obtained for all resolutions, enabling the creation of metabolic maps that display details such as the ventricles, sulci, and gyri. High-resolution (1)H-SI allows differences in metabolic ratios to be estimated for anatomically defined regions in gray (GM) and white matter (WM). Seven distinct regions in a healthy brain were anatomically segmented and their metabolic ratios were compared quantitatively. Data from a tumor patient are also presented to demonstrate potential clinical applications. Because of the high resolution, the metabolite ratios could be determined for distinct pathologic regions within the tumor and its surroundings. The method was additionally applied to a patient with patchy Pelizaeus Merzbacher disease (PMD), and compared to single-voxel spectroscopy performed in the same session. High-resolution SI data were demonstrated in our study to allow the direct matching of anatomic and metabolic images. This may enhance the clinical value of (1)H-SI.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aspartic Acid / analogs & derivatives*
  • Brain / anatomy & histology*
  • Brain / metabolism*
  • Brain Neoplasms / metabolism
  • Brain Neoplasms / pathology
  • Choline
  • Creatine
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Imaging, Three-Dimensional*
  • Infant
  • Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy*
  • Male
  • Pelizaeus-Merzbacher Disease / metabolism
  • Pelizaeus-Merzbacher Disease / pathology


  • Aspartic Acid
  • N-acetylaspartate
  • Creatine
  • Choline