Magnetic resonance spectroscopic analysis of neurometabolite changes in the developing rat brain at 7T

Brain Res. 2016 Nov 15;1651:114-120. doi: 10.1016/j.brainres.2016.09.028. Epub 2016 Sep 20.


We utilized proton magnetic resonance spectroscopy to evaluate the metabolic profile of the hippocampus and anterior cingulate cortex of the developing rat brain from postnatal days 14-70. Measured metabolite concentrations were modeled using linear, exponential, or logarithmic functions and the time point at which the data reached plateau (i.e. when the portion of the data could be fit to horizontal line) was estimated and was interpreted as the time when the brain has reached maturity with respect to that metabolite. N-acetyl-aspartate and myo-inositol increased within the observed period. Gluthathione did not vary significantly, while taurine decreased initially and then stabilized. Phosphocreatine and total creatine had a tendency to increase towards the end of the experiment. Some differences between our data and the published literature were observed in the concentrations and dynamics of phosphocreatine, myo-inositol, and GABA in the hippocampus and creatine, GABA, glutamine, choline and N-acetyl-aspartate in the cortex. Such differences may be attributed to experimental conditions, analysis approaches and animal species. The latter is supported by differences between in-house rat colony and rats from Charles River Labs. Spectroscopy provides a valuable tool for non-invasive brain neurochemical profiling for use in developmental neurobiology research. Special attention needs to be paid to important sources of variation like animal strain and commercial source.

Keywords: Developmental neuroscience; Magnetic resonance spectroscopy; Neurometabolite; Rat.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Aspartic Acid / analogs & derivatives
  • Aspartic Acid / metabolism
  • Brain / diagnostic imaging
  • Brain / growth & development*
  • Brain / metabolism*
  • Choline / metabolism
  • Creatine / metabolism
  • Glutamine / metabolism
  • Inositol / metabolism
  • Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy* / instrumentation
  • Male
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley
  • Species Specificity
  • Taurine / metabolism
  • gamma-Aminobutyric Acid / metabolism


  • Glutamine
  • Taurine
  • Aspartic Acid
  • Inositol
  • gamma-Aminobutyric Acid
  • N-acetylaspartate
  • Creatine
  • Choline