Proton MR spectroscopy in acute middle cerebral artery stroke

Jonathan H. Gillard, Peter B. Barker, Peter C.M. Van Zijl, R. Nick Bryan, Stephen M. Oppenheimer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


PURPOSE: To investigate the feasibility of performing multisection proton MR spectroscopy in patients with acute stroke, and to determine whether this imaging technique can depict ischemic or infarcted brain regions. METHODS: Multisection proton MR spectroscopy, MR imaging, and MR angiography were performed within 24 hours of stroke onset (mean, 12 hours) in 12 patients who had had a stroke of the middle cerebral artery. Spectra were analyzed from brain regions containing T2 hyperintensity abnormalities on MR images, from regions immediately adjacent to these abnormalities, and from anatomically similar contralateral regions. Areas of brain containing lactate were compared with areas of T2 hyperintensities on MR images. RESULTS: One data set was discarded because of excessive artifacts from patient motion. Regions of T2 hyperintensities on MR images were found to contain elevated lactate (all 11 cases) and reduced N-acetyl-aspartate (10 of 11 cases) relative to contralateral measurements. Lactate levels in regions adjacent to T2 hyperintensities were not significantly different from those of infarcted brain. On the other hand, N-acetyl-aspartate was significantly lower in regions of infarction compared with periinfarct tissue. Areas of brain containing elevated lactate significantly exceeded those of T2 abnormality. CONCLUSIONS: Proton MR spectroscopy is feasible for imaging patients with acute stroke. In the early stages of stroke, tissue containing elevated lactate but no other spectroscopic or MR imaging abnormality can be identified. Such regions may represent an ischemic zone at risk of infarction.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)873-886
Number of pages14
JournalAmerican Journal of Neuroradiology
Issue number5
StatePublished - 1996


  • Arteries, cerebral, middle
  • Brain, infarction
  • Magnetic resonance, spectroscopy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Clinical Neurology


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