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Abstract

Magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS) is a noninvasive method that permits measurement of the concentration of specific biochemical compounds in the brain and other organ systems in precisely defined regions guided by MR imaging (MRI). Recently, MRS methods have been developed to measure specific neurotransmitters in the brain. More advanced MRS methods have been developed to measure the synthesis rates and turnover of specific neurotransmitters. These turnover rates can provide measures of brain metabolism similar to radioisotope techniques. Also, investigations of the relationship of brain metabolism and specific neurotransmitter systems are now possible using MRS. Here, we review the MRS techniques and studies of neurotransmitters in the human brain. A discussion of the potential use of these techniques in the context of certain pediatric neurotransmitter disorders will be presented. Ann Neurol 2003;54 (Suppl 6):S25–S31