Proton MRS of the unilateral substantia nigra in the human brain at 4 tesla: Detection of high GABA concentrations

Gülin Öz, Melissa Terpstra, Ivan Tkáč, Pratibha Aia, Jodi Lowary, Paul J. Tuite, Rolf Gruetter

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

80 Scopus citations

Abstract

Parkinson's disease (PD) is characterized by loss of dopaminergic neurons in the substantia nigra (SN), the cause of which is unknown. Characterization of early SN pathology could prove beneficial in the treatment and diagnosis of PD. The present study shows that with the use of short-echo (5 ms) Stimulated-Echo Acquisition Mode (STEAM) spectroscopy and LCModel, a neurochemical profile consisting of 10 metabolites, including γ-aminobutyric acid (GABA), glutamate (Glu), and glutathione (GSH), can be measured from the unilateral SN at 4 tesla. The neurochemical profile of the SN is unique and characterized by a fourfold higher GABA/Glu ratio compared to the cortex, in excellent agreement with established neurochemistry. The presence of elevated GABA levels in SN was validated with the use of editing, suggesting that partial volume effects were greatly reduced. These findings establish the feasibility of obtaining a neurochemical profile of the unilateral human SN by single-voxel spectroscopy in small volumes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)296-301
Number of pages6
JournalMagnetic resonance in medicine
Volume55
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 2006

Keywords

  • GABA
  • Human
  • MRS
  • Parkinson's disease
  • Substantia nigra

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