Human brain infarction: proton MR spectroscopy

Radiology. 1992 Jun;183(3):711-8. doi: 10.1148/radiology.183.3.1584925.


Two-dimensional proton magnetic resonance (MR) spectroscopic imaging studies were performed of the distributions of the major hydrogen-1 metabolites of choline, creatine, N-acetyl aspartate (NAA) and lactate in normal (n = 6) and subacutely to chronically infarcted (n = 10) human brain. The two dimensions of phase encoding were applied over a 20-mm-thick section of brain tissue that had been selected with a double spin-echo localization method. Normal brain showed bilaterally symmetric metabolite distributions and no detectable lactate. Nine of 10 studies of brain infarction showed substantial decreases in NAA, creatine, and choline in the infarcted area compared with control areas; averaged for all studies, the decreases were 77% +/- 8, 63% +/- 11, and 54% +/- 12, respectively (mean +/- standard error). The decreased metabolite concentrations are probably due primarily to diminished cell density in the infarct. The decrease in NAA was larger than the decreases in choline and creatine. Findings in all of the studies showed lactate in the infarcted tissue and/or ventricles. The continued presence of lactate in the infarct indicates increased anaerobic glycolysis due to ischemia or other factors.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Aspartic Acid / analogs & derivatives
  • Aspartic Acid / metabolism
  • Brain / metabolism*
  • Cerebral Infarction / metabolism*
  • Choline / metabolism
  • Creatine / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy*
  • Middle Aged


  • Aspartic Acid
  • N-acetylaspartate
  • Creatine
  • Choline