Send to

Choose Destination
PLoS One. 2017 May 12;12(5):e0177680. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0177680. eCollection 2017.

Ultra high-field (7tesla) magnetic resonance spectroscopy in Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis.

Author information

Neurological Clinical Research Institute (NCRI), Department of Neurology, Massachusetts General Hospital, and Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts, United States of America.
Department of Radiology, First Affiliated Hospital of Zhejiang Chinese Medical University, Hangzhou, P.R. China.
Department of Radiology, Massachusetts General Hospital, Athinoula A. Martinos Center for Biomedical Imaging, and Harvard Medical School, Charlestown, Massachusetts, United States of America.
Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Sloan School of Management, Cambridge, Massachusetts, United States of America.
Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital, Charlestown, Massachusetts, United States of America.
Siemens Healthineers, MR R&D, Siemens, Auburn, Alabama, United States of America.
Siemens Healthineers, MR R&D, Siemens, Charlestown, Massachusetts, United States of America.


The main objective of this study was to utilize high field (7T) in vivo proton magnetic resonance imaging to increase the ability to detect metabolite changes in people with ALS, specifically, to quantify levels of glutamine and glutamine separately. The second objective of this study was to correlate metabolic markers with clinical outcomes of disease progression. 13 ALS participants and 12 age-matched healthy controls (HC) underwent 7 Tesla MRI and MRS. Single voxel MR spectra were acquired from the left precentral gyrus using a very short echo time (TE = 5 ms) STEAM sequence. MRS data was quantified using LCModel and correlated to clinical outcome markers. N-acetylaspartate (NAA) and total NAA (tNA, NAA + NAAG) were decreased by 17% in people with ALS compared to HC (P = 0.004 and P = 0.005, respectively) indicating neuronal injury and/or loss in the precentral gyrus. tNA correlated with disease progression as measured by forced vital capacity (FVC) (P = 0.014; Rρ = 0.66) and tNA/tCr correlated with overall functional decline as measured by worsening of the ALS Functional Rating Scale-Revised (ALSFRS-R) (P = 0.004; Rρ = -0.74). These findings underscore the importance of NAA as a reliable biomarker for neuronal injury and disease progression in ALS. Glutamate (Glu) was 15% decreased in people with ALS compared to HC (P = 0.02) while glutamine (Gln) concentrations were similar between the two groups. Furthermore, the decrease in Glu correlated with the decrease in FVC (P = 0.013; Rρ = 0.66), a clinical marker of disease progression. The decrease in Glu is most likely driven by intracellular Glu loss due to neuronal loss and degeneration. Neither choline containing components (Cho), a marker for cell membrane turnover, nor myo-Inositol (mI), a suspected marker for neuroinflammation, showed significant differences between the two groups. However, mI/tNA was correlated with upper motor neuron burden (P = 0.004, Rρ = 0.74), which may reflect a relative increase of activated microglia around motor neurons. In summary, 7T 1H MRS is a powerful non-invasive imaging technique to study molecular changes related to neuronal injury and/or loss in people with ALS.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Public Library of Science Icon for PubMed Central
Loading ...
Support Center