Imaging Neurodegeneration: What Can Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy Contribute?

Part of the Contemporary Clinical Neuroscience book series (CCNE)


With increased prevalence of neurodegenerative diseases with age and an aging society, neuroimaging for diagnosis, prognosis, and therapy monitoring in these diseases has become more important than ever. There is particularly a great need for robust biomarkers and surrogate markers of cerebral pathology that can facilitate development of effective treatments in these conditions. Many radionuclide and MRI modalities are currently used in clinical research, with some already accepted among diagnostic criteria for neurodegenerative diseases. Others are being evaluated for their potential to monitor the pathogenic events during neurodegeneration at multiple levels from the global network level down to the subcellular and molecular levels. This chapter places magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS) within the context of other imaging modalities for evaluating neurodegeneration and summarizes its unique role in simultaneously assessing multiple relevant pathophysiological events, including neuronal loss/dysfunction, gliosis, demyelination, impaired energetics, increased membrane turnover, demyelination, synaptic dysfunction, and oxidative stress. Finally, the steps that still need to be taken to facilitate wider utility of advanced MRS methodology are outlined.


Structural MRI Diffusion MRI Resting state fMRI Positron emission tomography Magnetization transfer MRI Manganese-enhanced MRI Susceptibility-weighted imaging N-Acetylaspartate Choline Creatine Myo-inositol Lactate Glutamate Glutamine GABA Glutathione Ascorbate 



The preparation of this chapter was in part supported by the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) grant R01 NS070815. The Center for MR Research is supported by the National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering (NIBIB) grant P41 EB015894 and the Institutional Center Cores for Advanced Neuroimaging award P30 NS076408. The author acknowledges valuable feedback from Drs. Christophe Lenglet, Pierre-Gilles Henry, and David A. Okar and thanks Drs. Dinesh Deelchand, James Joers, Pierre-Gilles Henry, Fanny Mochel, and Petr Bednařík for providing images and spectra for the figure.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Radiology, Center for Magnetic Resonance ResearchUniversity of MinnesotaMinneapolisUSA

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