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Psychiatry Res. 2000 Dec 22;100(3):169-78.

Assessment of GABA concentration in human brain using two-dimensional proton magnetic resonance spectroscopy.

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McLean Hospital, Brain Imaging Center, Department of Psychiatry, Harvard Medical School, 115 Mill Street, Belmont, MA , 02478-9106, USA.


A quantitative method to assess in vivo brain gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) levels is proposed using a J-resolved, two-dimensional (2D) magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS) technique. Localized, J-resolved 2D MR spectra were obtained from a 12-cm(3) voxel in the occipital lobe of 36 healthy volunteers (18 male and 18 female, age: 25.1+/-4.8 years). Based on phantom measurements, a GABA resonance peak located at 2.94 ppm, 7.45 Hz, in J-resolved 2D MRS overlaps the least with other resonance peaks which arise from N-acetylaspartate, choline, creatine, glutamate and glutamine. Measurements of this resonance peak yield in vivo GABA concentrations of 1.01+/-0.36 micromol/cm(3) for male and 1.16+/-0.43 micromol/cm(3) for female volunteers, without correction for T1 and T2 relaxation effects. These results are in good agreement with previously reported data and suggest that, with further development, 2D MRS may provide a practical means to estimate the concentration of this important neurotransmitter.

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