Detection of glutamate/glutamine resonances by 1H magnetic resonance spectroscopy at 0.5 tesla

Magn Reson Med. 1997 Apr;37(4):615-8. doi: 10.1002/mrm.1910370422.


Midfield proton magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS) provides a noninvasive method to monitor glutamate and glutamine (Glx) levels in vivo. Experiments to detect the gamma and beta resonances of Glx have been performed by using commercial 0.5 T and 1.5 T MR scanners on seven patients with elevated blood ammonia and eight normal volunteers. Compared with the spectral sensitivity obtained on an otherwise identical system operating at 1.5 T, the singlet resonance of N-acetyl aspartate (NAA) was decreased by a factor of 1.48, which is significantly less than expected using the ratio of Boltzman populations at the two field strengths. However, the resonances of Glx at 0.5 T increased in signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) by a factor of 2. The increased SNR of Glx is principally due to improved B0 main-field homogeneity and collapse of the strongly J-coupled Glx resonances. Our preliminary results suggest that midfield proton MRS will provide significant clinical utility in the detection of Glx levels in human brain.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Ammonia / blood
  • Brain / metabolism*
  • Female
  • Glutamic Acid / analysis*
  • Glutamine / analysis*
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy / methods*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Phantoms, Imaging
  • Protons
  • Sensitivity and Specificity


  • Protons
  • Glutamine
  • Glutamic Acid
  • Ammonia