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Abnormalities in Human Brain Creatine Metabolism in Gulf War Illness Probed with MRS

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Final rept. 30 Sep 2012 - 29 Sep 2014

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Abnormal levels of total creatine tCr in veterans with Gulf War Illness have been observed in prior studies. The goal of this research is to estimate amounts and 1H transverse relaxation times T2s of the methyl peaks of the molecules phosphocreatine PCr and free creatine Cr in brains of ill and well control Gulf War veterans using phosphorus 31P and proton 1H magnetic resonance spectroscopy MRS. This will add more detailed and specific information about the previous preliminary reports of abnormal levels of these metabolites in brains of ill Gulf War veterans, validating this potential diagnostic marker and providing better understanding of underlying pathophysiology. Secondary goals are to measure amounts of adenosine triphosphate ATP, inorganic phosphate Pi, and magnesium ion Mg2 and to estimate intracellular pH from 31P MRS data. Year 1 progress and achievements included testing of a new dual-tuned 31P-1H head coil for 3T MRS, developing and optimizing protocols and parameters for 31P and 1H MRS, performing theoretical calculations using parameter estimates from the literature to characterize the creatine phosphokinase CPK-catalyzed chemical exchange of phosphate between PCr and Cr, and doing normal volunteer experiments to explore and determine the best 3T parameters for measuring biexponential 1H T2 relaxation of the methyl peak of tCr at 3.0 ppm.

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  • Medicine and Medical Research

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