Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy

  • Sai Merugumala
  • Saadalah Ramadan
  • Walker Keenan
  • Huijun Liao
  • Luke Y-J. Wang
  • Alexander Lin


Magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS) measures the concentration of chemicals in the brain using conventional magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scanners, thereby providing a “virtual biopsy” that is noninvasive, quantitative, and objective for the characterization of psychiatric disorders as well as other brain disorders. The primary chemicals relevant to psychiatry are N-acetylaspartate, a putative neuronal marker; glutamate, an excitatory neurotransmitter; γ-aminobutyric acid, an inhibitory neurotransmitter; and glutathione, an antioxidant involved in neuroinflammation. There exist different methods for measuring each of these metabolites using specialized pulse sequences, which will be described in detail. Finally, their biological roles and metabolism will be discussed in the context of psychiatric diseases such as schizophrenia, mood disorders, depression, and anxiety.


Depression Glutathione Cysteine Glutamine NMDA 



Carbon 13


Two-dimensional correlated spectroscopy


Two-dimensional J-resolved point-resolved spectroscopy


Alzheimer’s disease


Bipolar disorder


Chemical exchange saturation transfer






Cramer–Rao lower bounds


Chemical shift imaging


Fast Fourier transform


Free induction decay


Functional magnetic resonance imaging


Gamma-aminobutyric acid


GABA transaminase


Glutamic acid decarboxylase






Glutamate chemical exchange saturation transfer


Both glutamate and glutamine




Glutathione peroxidase




Glutathione disulfide


J-resolved point-resolved spectroscopy


Linear compilation model


Mild cognitive impairment


Mescher–Garwood point-resolved spectroscopy




Magnetic resonance imaging


Magnetic resonance spectroscopy


N-Acetylaspartic acid


N-Acetylaspartylglutamic acid


N-Methyl-d-aspartic acid


Nuclear magnetic resonance








Positron emission tomographyPRESS, Point-resolved spectroscopy


Prior knowledge fitting


Radio frequency


Region of interest


Reactive oxygen species


Stimulated echo acquisition mode


Single voxel spectroscopy


Tricarboxylic acid cycle


Echo time


Inversion time


Relaxation time


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Copyright information

© Springer Berlin Heidelberg 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sai Merugumala
    • 1
  • Saadalah Ramadan
    • 2
  • Walker Keenan
    • 1
  • Huijun Liao
    • 1
  • Luke Y-J. Wang
    • 1
    • 3
  • Alexander Lin
    • 1
    • 4
  1. 1.Department of RadiologyBrigham and Women’s Hospital, Harvard Medical SchoolBostonUSA
  2. 2.Faculty of Health, School of Health SciencesUniversity of NewcastleCallaghanAustralia
  3. 3.Department of Anesthesiology, Perioperative and Pain MedicineBoston Children’s Hospital, Harvard Medical SchoolBostonUSA
  4. 4.Psychiatric Neuroimaging LaboratoryBrigham and Women’s Hospital, Harvard Medical SchoolBostonUSA

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