Unveiling a hidden 31 P signal coresonating with extracellular inorganic phosphate by outer-volume-suppression and localized 31 P MRS in the human brain at 7T

Magn Reson Med. 2018 Oct;80(4):1289-1297. doi: 10.1002/mrm.27121. Epub 2018 Feb 9.


Purpose: The study was undertaken to demonstrate that there is more than 1 component in the extracellular Pi31 P signal ( Piex) acquired from human head using nonlocalized 31 P MRS.

Methods: Outer-volume-suppression (OVS) saturation and 1D/2D 31 P CSI were utilized to reveal the presence of an additional component in the Piex signal.

Results: 67% of the head extracellular Pi signal was attenuated upon OVS saturation of the peripheral meningeal tissues, likely reflecting elimination of the Pi signal in the meningeal fluids (the blood and CSF). Localized 1D/2D CSI data provided further support for this assignment. Upon correction for the meningeal contribution, the extracellular Pi concentration was 0.51 ± 0.07 mM, whereas the intracellular Pi was 0.85 ± 0.10 mM. The extracellular pH was measured as 7.32 ± 0.04 when using OVS, as compared to 7.39 ± 0.03 when measured without OVS (N = 7 subjects).

Conclusion: The extracellular Pi signal acquired from the human head using nonlocalized 31 P MRS contains a significant component likely contributed by peripheral blood and CSF in meninges that must be removed in order to use this signal as an endogenous probe for measuring extracellular pH and other properties in the brain.

Keywords: 31P MRS; CSF; blood; brain; inorganic phosphate; pH.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Brain / diagnostic imaging*
  • Brain Chemistry / physiology
  • Extracellular Space
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging / methods*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Phosphates / analysis
  • Phosphates / chemistry
  • Phosphorus Isotopes / analysis
  • Phosphorus Isotopes / chemistry*
  • Signal Processing, Computer-Assisted*


  • Phosphates
  • Phosphorus Isotopes