Faster Metabolite 1H Transverse Relaxation in the Elder Human Brain

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1H magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS) is unique among imaging modalities because signals from several metabolites are measured during a single examination period. Each metabolite reflects a distinct intracellular process. Furthermore transverse (T2) relaxation times probe the viability of the cell microenvironment, e.g., the viscosity of the cellular fluids, the microscopic susceptibility distribution within the cells, and the iron content. In this study, T2s of brain metabolites were measured in the occipital lobe of eighteen young and fourteen elderly subjects at a field strength of 4 tesla. The T2s of N-acetylaspartate, total creatine, and total choline were 23%, 16% and 10% shorter in elderly than in young subjects. The findings of this study suggest that noninvasive detection of T2 provides useful biological information on changes in the cellular microenvironment that take place during aging.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere77572
JournalPloS one
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 2 2013


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