In vivo concentrations of cerebral metabolites were obtained by means of 52 single-voxel, localized proton magnetic resonance (MR) spectroscopic examinations of different regions of the brain performed in 26 healthy adults aged 21-32 years. The study was performed at 2.0 T with use of a circularly polarized head coil to ensure homogeneous radio-frequency excitation and signal reception. Proton MR spectra were obtained in the stimulated-echo acquisition mode under fully relaxed conditions (repetition time > or = 6,000 msec) and at short echo times (20 msec) to minimize corrections due to T1 and T2 attenuation and depict the spectra of metabolites with strongly coupled resonances. Absolute concentrations were obtained by means of calibration of resonance signal areas with those of pertinent metabolite solutions from separate studies and correction for coil loading and partial volume effects (eg, with perfused capillary networks and cerebrospinal fluid). The results provide a quantitative basis for studies of both normal human neurochemistry in vivo and metabolic alterations in diseases of the brain.