Measurement of variation in the human cerebral GABA level by in vivo MEGA-editing proton MR spectroscopy using a clinical 3 T instrument and its dependence on brain region and the female menstrual cycle



The objectives of this study were to examine the reproducibility of the MEGA-editing J-difference technique and to determine the normal variation in the γ-aminobutyric acid (GABA) level depending on the cerebral region and its fluctuation according to the menstrual cycle as baseline data for clinical application. The participants consisted of 15 normal adult volunteers (eight men and seven women), and all measurements were repeated twice in all participants. The MEGA-editing pulses were incorporated into point-resolved spectroscopy on a 3 T instrument to obtain the J-difference editing spectra from a voxel located in the lentiform nuclei (LN), left frontal lobe (FL), and anterior cingulate cortex (AC). The GABA levels in the gray matter (GM) were compensated by the fraction ratios of the gray and white matters and cerebrospinal fluid in the measurement volume. The extent of the variation in GABA was almost the same as that observed in the major metabolites, and its reproducibility was also maintained (intraclass correlation coefficient > 0.7). GABA level was highest in LN and lowest in AC. A difference in the GABA level between the follicular and luteal phases of the menstrual cycle was found in both LN and FL, but not in AC. This technique showed the differences in the GABA levels in the GM and the region-specific decrease in the GABA levels during the women's luteal phase. Hum Brain Mapp, 2011. © 2010 Wiley-Liss, Inc.