Magnetic resonance spectroscopy of the brain: review of metabolites and clinical applications

Clin Radiol. 2009 Jan;64(1):12-21. doi: 10.1016/j.crad.2008.07.002. Epub 2008 Aug 30.


Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) provides anatomic images and morphometric characterization of disease, whereas magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS) provides metabolite/biochemical information about tissues non-invasively in vivo. MRS has been used clinically for more than two decades. The major applications of this advanced MRI tool are in the investigation of neurological and neurosurgical disorders. MRS has also been used in the evaluation of the prostate gland and muscle tissue, but these applications will not be addressed in this review. The aim of this review is to attempt to introduce the technique, review the metabolites and literature, as well as briefly describe our clinical experience.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Biomarkers, Tumor / metabolism
  • Brain / metabolism*
  • Brain Neoplasms / diagnosis*
  • Brain Neoplasms / metabolism
  • Dementia / diagnosis
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Epilepsy / diagnosis
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy / methods*
  • Male
  • Young Adult


  • Biomarkers, Tumor