BACKGROUND: Magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS) plays an important role in early diagnosis of Alzheimer disease (AD). There are many reports on MRS studies among individuals with AD and mild cognitive impairment (MCI). However, very few studies have compared spectroscopic data of different limbic regions among AD and MCI subjects. PURPOSE: To compare metabolite changes of different regions in the brain of AD and MCI patients by using 3.0 T short-echo-time MRS. MATERIAL AND METHODS: Metabolite ratios in the hippocampus and posterior cingulate area were compared in a group of patients with AD (n=16), MCI (n=16), and normal subjects as a control group (n=16). Clinical neuropsychological tests were measured in all subjects. RESULTS: In the hippocampus, there were significant differences in N-acetylaspartate (NAA)/creatine (Cr), myo-inositol (mI)/Cr, and mI/NAA ratios among the three groups. However, there were no significant differences in choline (Cho)/Cr ratio among the three groups. In the posterior cingulate area, there were no significant differences in the NAA/Cr, Cho/Cr, and mI/Cr ratios among the three groups. However, there were significant differences in mI/NAA ratio between patients with AD and the control group, and between the AD and MCI groups. In addition, there was significant correlation between mI/NAA ratio and Mini Mental Status Exam (MMSE) score in subjects with AD and MCI. CONCLUSION: The study reveals that the elevation of mI/NAA ratio in the hippocampus is more significant than that in the posterior cingulate area, which corresponds to the pathologic procession of AD. The ratios of mI/NAA in the hippocampus and in the posterior cingulate area together provide valuable discrimination among the three groups (AD, MCI, and controls). There is a significant correlation between mI/NAA ratio and cognitive decline.
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