An evaluation of the reproducibility of 1H-MRS GABA and GSH levels acquired in healthy volunteers with J-difference editing sequences at varying echo times

James J. Prisciandaro, Mark Mikkelsen, Muhammad G. Saleh, Richard A.E. Edden

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Recent advances in J-difference-edited proton magnetic resonance spectroscopy (1H MRS) data acquisition and processing have led to the development of Hadamard Encoding and Reconstruction of MEGA-Edited Spectroscopy (HERMES) techniques, which enable the simultaneous measurement of ɣ-aminobutyric acid (GABA), the primary inhibitory amino acid neurotransmitter in the central nervous system, and of glutathione (GSH), the most abundant antioxidant in living tissue, at the commonly available magnetic field strength of 3 T. However, the reproducibility of brain levels of GABA and GSH measured across multiple scans in human subjects using HERMES remains to be established. In the present study, twelve healthy volunteers completed two consecutive HERMES scans of the dorsal anterior cingulate cortex (dACC) to assess the test-retest reproducibility of the technique for GABA and GSH measurements at TE = 80 ms. Eleven of the twelve participants additionally completed two consecutive MEGA-PRESS scans at TE = 120 ms, with editing pulses configured for GSH acquisition, to compare the reliability of GSH in the same voxel measured using the standard MEGA-PRESS at TE = 120 ms. The primary findings of study were that, 1) the coefficient of variation (CV) of measuring GABA with HERMES was 16.7%, which is in agreement with the reliability we previously reported for measuring GABA using MEGA-PRESS; and 2) the reliability of measuring GSH with MEGA-PRESS at TE = 120 ms was more than twice as high as that for measuring the antioxidant with HERMES at TE = 80 ms (CV = 7.3% vs. 19.0% respectively). These findings suggest that HERMES and MEGA-PRESS offer similar reliabilities for measuring GABA, while MEGA-PRESS at TE = 120 ms is more reliable for measuring GSH relative to HERMES at TE = 80 ms.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)109-113
Number of pages5
JournalMagnetic Resonance Imaging
StatePublished - Jan 2020


  • GABA
  • GSH
  • J-difference editing
  • Reproducibility

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging

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