Sensitivity and specificity of human brain glutathione concentrations measured using short-TE 1H MRS at 7 T

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Although the MR editing techniques that have traditionally been used for the measurement of glutathione (GSH) concentrations in vivo address the problem of spectral overlap, they suffer detriments associated with inherently long TEs. The purpose of this study was to characterize the sensitivity and specificity for the quantification of GSH concentrations without editing at short TE. The approach was to measure synthetically generated changes in GSH concentrations from in vivo stimulated echo acquisition mode (STEAM) spectra after in vitro GSH spectra had been added to or subtracted from them. Spectra from five test subjects were synthetically altered to mimic changes in the GSH signal. To account for different background noise between measurements, retest spectra (from the same individuals as used to generate the altered data) and spectra from five other individuals were compared with the synthetically altered spectra to investigate the reliability of the quantification of GSH concentration. Using STEAM spectroscopy at 7 T, GSH concentration differences on the order of 20% were detected between test and retest studies, as well as between differing populations in a small sample (n = 5) with high accuracy (R2 > 0.99) and certainty (p ≤ 0.01). Both increases and decreases in GSH concentration were reliably quantified with small impact on the quantification of ascorbate and γ-aminobutyric acid. These results show the feasibility of using short-TE 1H MRS to measure biologically relevant changes and differences in human brain GSH concentration. Although these outcomes are specific to the experimental approach used and the spectral quality achieved, this study serves as a template for the analogous scrutiny of quantification reliability for other compounds, methodologies and spectral qualities.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)600-606
Number of pages7
JournalNMR in biomedicine
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 1 2016

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.


  • Antioxidant
  • GSH
  • LCModel
  • MRS


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