• MR spectroscopic imaging;
  • skeletal muscle;
  • intramyocellular lipids;
  • fiber orientation;
  • lipid extrapolation


In this study the distribution of intramyocellular lipids (IMCL) in human calf muscles was determined by 1H-MR spectroscopic imaging (MRSI) measurements. An obstacle for MRSI measurements in the calf, including different muscles, is the inevitable inclusion of regions with high concentrations of extramyocellular lipids (EMCL). This can lead to signal bleeding and consequently to unpredictable overlaps of IMCL resonances with EMCL in voxels of interest. The results of this study show that signal bleeding from EMCL can be substantially reduced in voxels from calf muscles by the application of a lipid extrapolation (LE) procedure (Haupt et al., Magn Reson Med 1996;35:678). The spectra of all voxels located within muscle tissue were fitted, and the metabolite values were assigned to one of 10 different muscles based on image segmentation. Significant IMCL differences between some muscles were obtained, with high values in m. soleus and two to three times lower values in the tibialis anterior, tibialis posterior, and gastrocnemius muscles. In addition to gross differences between muscles, significant intersubject differences were observed in both IMCL content and distribution over different muscles. A significant correlation between fiber orientation (obtained from orientation-dependent dipolar coupling of creatine and taurine resonances) and IMCL content was found, indicating that IMCL content is directly correlated to biomechanical properties. Magn Reson Med 51:253–262, 2004. © 2004 Wiley-Liss, Inc.