Proton MR Spectroscopy of the Brain at 3 T: An Update

Eur Radiol. 2007 Jul;17(7):1651-62. doi: 10.1007/s00330-006-0546-1. Epub 2007 Jan 18.


Proton magnetic resonance spectroscopy ((1)H-MRS) provides specific metabolic information not otherwise observable by any other imaging method. (1)H-MRS of the brain at 3 T is a new tool in the modern neuroradiological armamentarium whose main advantages, with respect to the well-established and technologically advanced 1.5-T (1)H-MRS, include a higher signal-to-noise ratio, with a consequent increase in spatial and temporal resolutions, and better spectral resolution. These advantages allow the acquisition of higher quality and more easily quantifiable spectra in smaller voxels and/or in shorter times, and increase the sensitivity in metabolite detection. However, these advantages may be hampered by intrinsic field-dependent technical issues, such as decreased T(2) signal, chemical shift dispersion errors, J-modulation anomalies, increased magnetic susceptibility, eddy current artifacts, challenges in designing and obtaining appropriate radiofrequency coils, magnetic field instability and safety hazards. All these limitations have been tackled by manufacturers and researchers and have received one or more solutions. Furthermore, advanced (1)H-MRS techniques, such as specific spectral editing, fast (1)H-MRS imaging and diffusion tensor (1)H-MRS imaging, have been successfully implemented at 3 T. However, easier and more robust implementations of these techniques are still needed before they can become more widely used and undertake most of the clinical and research (1)H-MRS applications.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Artifacts
  • Aspartic Acid / analogs & derivatives
  • Aspartic Acid / metabolism
  • Brain / pathology
  • Brain / physiopathology*
  • Brain Diseases / diagnosis*
  • Brain Diseases / physiopathology
  • Brain Neoplasms / diagnosis*
  • Brain Neoplasms / physiopathology
  • Cerebral Cortex / pathology
  • Cerebral Cortex / physiopathology
  • Choline / metabolism
  • Creatine / metabolism
  • Energy Metabolism / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Image Enhancement / methods*
  • Image Processing, Computer-Assisted / methods*
  • Lactic Acid / metabolism
  • Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy / methods*
  • Software


  • Aspartic Acid
  • Lactic Acid
  • N-acetylaspartate
  • Creatine
  • Choline