2017 Volume 84 Issue 4 Pages 160-164
Molecular imaging implies the method capable of pictorially displaying distribution of target molecules and their relative concentration in space. In clinical medicine, where non-invasiveness is mandatory, diagnostic molecular imaging has been considered virtually identical to positron emission tomography (PET). However, there is another powerful, apparently underutilized molecular imaging, namely, proton magnetic resonance spectroscopic imaging (1H-MRSI). The technique can detect target molecules endogenous in brain in virtue of their own specific resonance frequencies (chemical shift) and can create quantitative images of each molecule. 1H-MRSI is conventionally utilized for imaging relatively easily detectable molecules such as N-acetyl-aspartate or lactate. More recently, however, the method is extended into imaging of more challenging molecules such as glutamate or γ-aminobutyric acid (GABA). In this small review, we summarize basic concept of 1H-MRSI and introduce an advanced technique, i.e. chemical exchange saturation transfer magnetic resonance imaging (CEST MRI), which made realistic glutamate imaging in vivo possible.