Intraindividual variability of striatal 1H-MRS brain metabolite measurements at 3 T
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PURPOSE: To measure possible positional and diurnal physiological effects on brain metabolites in single-voxel proton magnetic resonance spectroscopy ((1)H-MRS) measurements of the right and left striatum. METHODS: (1)H-MRS measurements were performed in 10 healthy adult volunteers using a short echo PRESS sequence (TE=30 ms, TR=3000 ms). Each individual was scanned during both morning and afternoon hours. Regions of interest were right and left striatum. To control for systematic drift in scanner performance, (1)H-MRS measurements of a standard phantom solution were also acquired. Statistical analysis was performed using a repeated measures analysis of variance that included three within-subject factors: metabolite (N-acetyl-aspartate [NAA] or creatine [Cr]), laterality (left or right caudate) and time (morning or afternoon). RESULTS: A significant interaction (P<.016) between time of day and metabolite levels was observed. Further exploration of this finding revealed a significant difference between morning and afternoon levels of NAA (P<.044) but not Cr. In addition, no significant morning-to-afternoon differences were observed for the (1)H-MRS phantom measurements. CONCLUSIONS: Systematic variation due to scanner performance does not account for the changes observed in repeated measurements of striatal NAA levels. This difference may be accounted for by either repositioning effects or circadian physiological effects. Further studies are required to learn whether time of day standardization of (1)H-MRS acquisitions may contribute to improved reproducibility of measurements.
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