Alterations of Striato-Thalamic Metabolism in Normal Aging Human Brain-An MR Metabolic Imaging Study.

Aging effects on striato-thalamic metabolism in healthy human brains were studied in vivo using short-TE whole brain 1H-MR spectroscopic imaging (wbMRSI) on eighty healthy subjects aged evenly between 20 to 70 years at 3T. Relative concentrations of N-acetyl-aspartate (NAA), choline, total creatine (tCr), myo-inositol (mI), glutamate, and glutamine in bilateral caudate nucleus, putamen, pallidum, and thalamus were determined using signal normalization relative to brain tissue water. Linear regression analysis was used to analyze the age-dependence of the metabolite concentrations. The metabolite concentrations revealed spatial inhomogeneity across brain regions and metabolites. With age, NAA decreased significantly in bilateral caudate nucleus and putamen, left pallidum, and left thalamus, tCr decreased in left putamen and bilateral pallidum, mI increased in bilateral caudate nucleus and right thalamus, and spectral linewidth increased in left putamen and right thalamus. In conclusion, normal aging of striato-thalamic metabolism in healthy human is associated with regional specific decreases of NAA and tCr and increases of mI, which may reflect the individual role of each brain structure within brain functionality.


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