Magnetization transfer imaging (MT) and localized proton spectroscopy (1H-MRS) were utilized in the evaluation of lesions (high signal abnormalities on T2-weighted images) and normal-appearing white matter (NAWM) in multiple sclerosis (MS). Eleven patients with a clinical diagnosis of MS were independently evaluated with both 1H-MRS and MT. The magnetization transfer ratio (MTR) of lesions was compared with the relative concentration of N-acetyl-aspartate (NAA) and a composite peak at 2.1 to 2.6 ppm termed "marker peaks." The MTR of white matter lesions in the MS patients was markedly decreased (6-34%; normal approximately 42%), and correlated well with increase in the marker peaks region (0.94-3.89). There was no correlation between the relative concentration of NAA and MTR. Increased resonance peaks in the 2.1 to 2.6 ppm range and marked decreases in MTR may be a relatively specific indicators of demyelination.