High-field proton magnetic resonance spectroscopy of a swine model for axonal injury

J Neurochem. 1998 May;70(5):2038-44. doi: 10.1046/j.1471-4159.1998.70052038.x.


A miniature swine model for diffuse brain injury has recently been developed that replicates the inertial loading conditions associated with rotational acceleration during automotive accidents. The swine model induces diffuse axonal pathology without macroscopic injury such as contusions and hematomas, thus affording a unique opportunity to study axonal injury with noninvasive techniques such as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and spectroscopy (MRS). In the present study, we evaluated this diffuse injury model with proton MRS, in vivo, using a high-field (4.0-T) MR scanner, since MRS has been demonstrated as a sensitive probe for detecting neurochemical abnormalities. Our study examined a region of the swine brain at timepoints before and after brain injury. Spectroscopic results indicate that N-acetylaspartate/creatine is diminished by at least 20% in regions of confirmed axonal pathology, whereas conventional MRI did not detect any abnormalities. These findings suggest that MRS has high sensitivity in diagnosing microscopic pathology following diffuse brain injury.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Aspartic Acid / analogs & derivatives
  • Aspartic Acid / metabolism
  • Axons / pathology*
  • Brain / metabolism
  • Brain Injuries / diagnosis*
  • Brain Injuries / metabolism
  • Creatine / metabolism
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Female
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy
  • Male
  • Protons
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Swine
  • Swine, Miniature


  • Protons
  • Aspartic Acid
  • N-acetylaspartate
  • Creatine