MR spectroscopy of muscle and brain in guanidinoacetate methyltransferase (GAMT)-deficient mice: validation of an animal model to study creatine deficiency

Magn Reson Med. 2003 Nov;50(5):936-43. doi: 10.1002/mrm.10627.


As a model for guanidinoacetate methyltransferase (GAMT) deficiency in humans, a gene knockout mouse model was generated. Here we report on several metabolic abnormalities in these mice, observed by in vivo and in vitro MR spectroscopy. In (1)H MR spectra of brain and hindleg muscle a clearly reduced signal of creatine (Cr) was observed in GAMT-deficient (GAMT-/-) animals. Analysis of the (1)H MR spectra of GAMT-/- brain indicated little or no increase of a signal for guanidinoacetate (Gua). In proton MR spectra of muscle, a broad signal of low intensity was observed for Gua. However, substantial Gua accumulation in intact muscle tissue was unequivocally confirmed in high-resolution magic angle spinning spectra, in which the Gua signal was resolved as one clear sharp singlet. In (31)P MR analysis of brain and hindleg muscle a strongly reduced phosphocreatine (PCr) content was shown. In addition, a signal of phosphorylated Gua at 0.5 ppm upfield of PCr was observed, with much higher intensity in muscle than in brain. This signal decreased when ischemia was applied to the muscle and recovered after ischemia was released. Overall, the in vivo (31)P and (1)H MR spectroscopy of GAMT-/- mice is similar to that of human GAMT deficiency. This opens up new avenues for the fundamental study of tissue-type dependence of creatine synthesis and transport and for diagnostic and therapeutic aspects of creatine deficiencies in humans.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Brain / metabolism*
  • Brain Chemistry
  • Creatine / deficiency*
  • Glycine / analogs & derivatives*
  • Glycine / metabolism
  • Guanidinoacetate N-Methyltransferase
  • Hindlimb
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy*
  • Metabolism, Inborn Errors / metabolism
  • Methyltransferases / deficiency*
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Mice, Knockout
  • Muscle, Skeletal / metabolism*


  • Methyltransferases
  • GAMT protein, human
  • Gamt protein, mouse
  • Guanidinoacetate N-Methyltransferase
  • glycocyamine
  • Creatine
  • Glycine