Localized proton MR spectroscopy of the brain in children

J Magn Reson Imaging. Sep-Oct 1993;3(5):719-29. doi: 10.1002/jmri.1880030506.


Small-voxel (3.0-8.0 cm3), magnetic resonance (MR) imaging-guided proton MR spectroscopy was performed in 54 patients (aged 6 days to 19 years) with intracranial masses (n = 16), neurodegenerative disorders (n = 34), and other neurologic diseases (n = 4) and in 23 age-matched control subjects without brain disease. A combined short TE (18 msec) stimulated-echo acquisition mode (STEAM) and long TE (135 and/or 270 msec) spin-echo point-resolved spatially localized spectroscopy (PRESS) protocol, using designed radio-frequency pulses, was performed at 1.5 T. STEAM spectra revealed short T2 and/or strongly coupled metabolites; prominent resonances were obtained from N-acetyl aspartate (NAA), choline-containing compounds (Cho), and total creatine (tCr). Lactate was well resolved with the long TE PRESS sequence. Intracranial tumors were readily differentiated from cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) collections. All tumors showed low NAA, high Cho, and reduced tCr levels. Neurodegenerative disorders showed low or absent NAA levels and enhanced mobile lipid, glutamate and glutamine, and inositol levels, consistent with neuronal loss, gliosis, demyelination, and amino acid neurotoxicity. Preliminary experience indicates that proton MR spectroscopy can contribute in the evaluation of central nervous system abnormalities of infants and children.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Aspartic Acid / analogs & derivatives
  • Aspartic Acid / metabolism
  • Brain / metabolism
  • Brain Diseases / diagnosis*
  • Brain Neoplasms / diagnosis
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Choline / metabolism
  • Creatine / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy* / methods


  • Aspartic Acid
  • N-acetylaspartate
  • Creatine
  • Choline