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Magn Reson Imaging. 2003 Sep;21(7):777-85.

Single-voxel proton MR spectroscopy in toluene abuse.

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Department of Radiology, Neuroradiology Division, Istanbul University, Istanbul Medical School, Capa/Istanbul, Turkey.


Inhalation of toluene, which is an organic solvent, causes toxic encephalopathy characterized by cognitive impairment, cerebellar and extra-pyramidal symptoms. We studied cranial MR images and single-voxel MR spectroscopy of 22 toluene abusers and age-matched control subjects. The mean age of the abusers and mean duration of abuse were 18,1 years and 47 months, respectively. We got three MR spectra from the centrum semiovale, cerebellum and thalamus by using STEAM sequence with a TE value of 30 ms. N-acetyl aspartate (NAA)/Creatine (Cr), Choline (Cho)/Cr, myo-inositol (mI)/Cr peak integral ratios were calculated. NAA/Cr in the cerebellum and centrum semiovale of the abusers were significantly lower than those of the control subjects. mI/Cr in centrum semiovale and cerebellum were higher in toluene abusers. No significant difference was found in the metabolite ratios of the thalami. The association of NAA/Cr and mI/Cr ratios in cerebellum and centrum semiovale with the duration of abuse was significant. Normal level of NAA in thalamus, which was a neuron rich gray matter structure, might imply that toluene inhalation did not cause direct neuronal injury. Selective reduction of NAA and increased level of mI in white matter supported the theory of that axonopathy and gliosis were the main mechanisms of pathophysiology in chronic toluene encepholopathy. Insignificance of elevation of Cho/Cr ratios demonstrated that toluene inhalation did not cause active demyelination.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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