Quantitative in vivo neurochemical profiling in humans: Where are we now?

Jessica McKay, Ivan Tkáč

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


Proton nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy of biofluids has become one of the key techniques for metabolic profiling and phenotyping. This technique has been widely used in a number of epidemiological studies and in a variety of health disorders. However, its utilization in brain disorders is limited due to the blood-brain barrier, which not only protects the brain from unwanted substances in the blood, but also substantially limits the potential of finding biomarkers for neurological disorders in serum. This review article focuses on the potential of localized in vivo proton magnetic resonance spectroscopy (1H-MRS) for non-invasive neurochemical profiling in the human brain. First, methodological aspects of 1H-MRS (data acquisition, processing and metabolite quantification) that are essential for reliable non-invasive neurochemical profiling are described. Second, the power of 1H-MRS-based neurochemical profiling is demonstrated using some examples of its application in neuroscience and neurology. Finally, the authors present their vision and propose necessary steps to establish 1H-MRS as a method suitable for large-scale neurochemical profiling in epidemiological research.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1339-1350
Number of pages12
JournalInternational journal of epidemiology
Issue number5
StatePublished - Oct 2016

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author 2016.


  • CNS disorders
  • H-MRS
  • Methodology
  • Neurochemical profiling
  • Spectral quality


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