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Ann Neurol. 2001 Apr;49(4):518-21.

Absence of N-acetylaspartate in the human brain: impact on neurospectroscopy?

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Neuroradiology and Magnetic Resonance, Department of Diagnostic Imaging, University Children's Hospital, Zurich, Switzerland.


N-acetylaspartate (NAA) contributes to the most prominent signal in proton magnetic resonance spectroscopy (1H-MRS) of the adult human brain. We report the absence of NAA in the brain of a 3-year-old child with neurodevelopmental retardation and moderately delayed myelination. Since normal concentration of NAA in body fluids is hardly detectable, 1H-MRS is a noninvasive technique for identifying neurometabolic diseases with absent NAA. This report puts NAA as a neuronal marker to question.

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