Objective—To investigate age-related and regional differences in estimated metabolite concentrations in the brain of healthy dogs by means of magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS).
Animals—15 healthy Beagles.
Procedures—Dogs were grouped according to age as young (n = 5; all dogs were 2 months old), adult (5; mean age, 4.5 years), or geriatric (5; all dogs were 12 years old). Imaging was performed by use of a 1.5-T MRI system with T1- and T2-weighted spin-echo and fluid-attenuated inversion recovery sequences. Signal intensity measurements for N-acetyl aspartate, creatine, choline, and lactate-alanine (the spectroscopic peaks associated with alanine and lactate could not be reliably differentiated) were determined with MRS, and areas under the spectroscopic peaks (representing concentration estimates) were calculated. Ratios of these metabolite values were compared among age groups and among brain regions with regression analysis.
Results—The choline-to-creatine ratio was significantly higher in young dogs, compared with other age groups. The N-acetyl aspartate-to-choline ratio was significantly lower in young dogs and geriatric dogs than in adult dogs. When all age groups were considered, the choline-to-creatine ratio was significantly higher and N-acetyl aspartate-to-choline ratio was significantly lower in the frontal lobe than in all other regions. The N-acetyl aspartate-to-creatine ratio was significantly lower in the cerebellum than in other regions.
Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Metabolite ratios varied significantly among age groups and brain regions in healthy dogs. Future studies should evaluate absolute concentration differences in a larger number of dogs and assess clinical applications in dogs with neurologic diseases.