• citrate;
  • choline;
  • relaxation times;
  • AB spin system;
  • density matrix;
  • computer simulations


Proton MR spectroscopic imaging (1H-MRSI) of the human prostate, which has an interesting clinical potential, may be improved by increasing the magnetic field strength from 1.5T to 3T. Both theoretical and practical considerations are necessary to optimize the pulse timing for spectroscopic imaging of the human prostate at 3T. For in vivo detection of the strongly coupled spin system of citrate, not only should the spectral shape of the signal be easy to identify, but the timing used should produce MR signals at reasonably short echo times (TEs). In this study the spectral shape of the methylene protons of citrate was simulated with density matrix calculations and checked with phantom measurements. Different calculated optimal spectral shapes were measured in patients with prostate cancer with a 2D spectroscopic imaging sequence. T1 and T2 relaxation times were calculated for citrate and choline, the two major metabolites of interest in the prostate. We conclude that the optimum timing for in vivo point-resolved spectroscopy (PRESS) imaging at 3T is an interpulse timing sequence of 90° - 25 ms - 180° - 37.5 ms - 180° - 12.5 ms - echo. A short repetition time (TR) of 750 ms partially saturates choline signals, but increases the SNR per unit time for citrate, and accommodates a maximum number of weighted averages of an elliptically sampled k-space for accurate localization and minimal contamination of the individual spectra. This is illustrated by means of a 3D spectroscopic imaging experiment in a complete prostate in vivo. Magn Reson Med 53:1268–1274, 2005. © 2005 Wiley-Liss, Inc.