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Gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) and glutamate (Glu) are the major neurotransmitters in the brain. They are crucial for the functioning of healthy brain and their alteration is a major mechanism in the pathophysiology of many neuro-psychiatric disorders. Magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS) is the only way to measure GABA and Glu non-invasively in vivo. GABA detection is particularly challenging and requires special MRS techniques. The most popular is MEscher-GArwood (MEGA) difference editing with single-voxel Point RESolved Spectroscopy (PRESS) localization. This technique has three major limitations: a) MEGA editing is a subtraction technique, hence is very sensitive to scanner instabilities and motion artifacts. b) PRESS is prone to localization errors at high fields (≥3T) that compromise accurate quantification. c) Single-voxel spectroscopy can (similar to a biopsy) only probe steady GABA and Glu levels in a single location at a time. To mitigate these problems, we implemented a 3D MEGA-editing MRS imaging sequence with the following three features: a) Real-time motion correction, dynamic shim updates, and selective reacquisition to eliminate subtraction artifacts due to scanner instabilities and subject motion. b) Localization by Adiabatic SElective Refocusing (LASER) to improve the localization accuracy and signal-to-noise ratio. c) K-space encoding via a weighted stack of spirals provides 3D metabolic mapping with flexible scan times. Simulations, phantom and in vivo experiments prove that our MEGA-LASER sequence enables 3D mapping of GABA+ and Glx (Glutamate+Gluatmine), by providing 1.66 times larger signal for the 3.02ppm multiplet of GABA+ compared to MEGA-PRESS, leading to clinically feasible scan times for 3D brain imaging. Hence, our sequence allows accurate and robust 3D-mapping of brain GABA+ and Glx levels to be performed at clinical 3T MR scanners for use in neuroscience and clinical applications.

Original publication

DOI

10.1016/j.neuroimage.2014.09.032

Type

Journal article

Journal

Neuroimage

Publication Date

12/2014

Volume

103

Pages

290 - 302

Keywords

Frequency drift correction, GABA, Glutamate, LASER, MEGA editing, Magnetic resonance spectroscopy, Neurotransmitter, Prospective motion correction, Reacquisition, Real-time correction, Spiral imaging, Adult, Artifacts, Brain, Brain Chemistry, Female, Humans, Image Processing, Computer-Assisted, Imaging, Three-Dimensional, Magnetic Resonance Imaging, Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy, Male, Signal Processing, Computer-Assisted, gamma-Aminobutyric Acid