Measurement of regional variation of GABA in the human brain by optimized point-resolved spectroscopy at 7 T in vivo

Sandeep K. Ganji, Zhongxu An, Abhishek Banerjee, Akshay Madan, Keith M. Hulsey, Changho Choi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


The 1H resonances of γ-aminobutyric acid (GABA) in the human brain in vivo are extensively overlapped with the neighboring abundant resonances of other metabolites and remain indiscernible in short-TE MRS at 7 T. Here we report that the GABA resonance at 2.28 ppm can be fully resolved by means of echo time optimization of a point-resolved spectroscopy (PRESS) scheme. Following numerical simulations and phantom validation, the subecho times of PRESS were optimized at (TE, TE2) = (31, 61) ms for detection of GABA, glutamate (Glu), glutamine (Gln), and glutathione (GSH). The in vivo feasibility of the method was tested in several brain regions in nine healthy subjects. Spectra were acquired from the medial prefrontal, left frontal, medial occipital, and left occipital brain and analyzed with LCModel. Following the gray and whitematter (GMandWM) segmentation of T1-weighted images, linear regression of metabolite estimates was performed against the fractional GM contents. The GABA concentration was estimated to be about seven times higher in GM than in WM. GABA was overall higher in frontal than in occipital brain. Glu was about twice as high in GM as in WM in both frontal and occipital brain. Gln was significantly different between frontal GM and WM while being similar between occipital GM and WM. GSH did not show significant dependence on tissue content. The signals from N-acetylaspartylglutamate were clearly resolved, giving the concentration more than 10 times higher in WM than inGM. Our data indicate that the PRESS TE= 92msmethod provides an effective means for measuring GABA and several challenging J-coupled spin metabolites in human brain at 7 T.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1167-1175
Number of pages9
JournalNMR in biomedicine
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 2014


  • 7 T
  • GABA
  • Gray matter
  • H MRS
  • Human brain
  • Point-resolved spectroscopy (PRESS)
  • White matter

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Medicine
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Spectroscopy


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