Age dependence of regional proton metabolites T2 relaxation times in the human brain at 3 T

Ivan I. Kirov, Lazar Fleysher, Roman Fleysher, Vishal Patil, Songtao Liu, Oded Gonen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

63 Scopus citations


Although recent studies indicate that use of a single global transverse relaxation time, T2, per metabolite is sufficient for better than ±10% quantification precision at intermediate and short echo-time spectroscopy in young adults, the age-dependence of this finding is unknown. Consequently, the age effect on regional brain choline (Cho), creatine (Cr), and N-acetylaspartate (NAA) T2s was examined in four age groups using 3D (four slices, 80 voxels 1 cm3 each) proton MR spectroscopy in an optimized two-point protocol. Metabolite T2s were estimated in each voxel and in 10 gray and white matter (GM, WM) structures in 20 healthy subjects: four adolescents (13 ± 1 years old), eight young adults (26 ± 1); two middle-aged (51 ± 6), and six elderly (74 ± 3). The results reveal that T2s in GM (average ± standard error of the mean) of adolescents (NAA: 301 ± 30, Cr: 162 ± 7, Cho: 263 ± 7 ms), young adults (NAA: 269 ± 7, Cr: 156 ± 7, Cho: 226 ± 9 ms), and elderly (NAA: 259 ± 13, Cr: 154 ± 8, Cho: 229 ± 14 ms), were 30%, 16%, and 10% shorter than in WM, yielding mean global T2s of NAA: 343, Cr: 172, and Cho: 248 ms. The elderly NAA, Cr, and Cho T2s were 12%, 6%, and 10% shorter than the adolescents, a change of under 1 ms/year assuming a linear decline with age. Formulae for T 2 age-correction for higher quantification precision are provided.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)790-795
Number of pages6
JournalMagnetic Resonance in Medicine
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 2008
Externally publishedYes


  • Aging
  • Brain
  • High-field
  • MR spectroscopy
  • Relaxation time

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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