Purpose: Visual review of individual spectra in magnetic resonance spectroscopic imaging (MRSI) data benefits from the application of spectral smoothing; however, if this processing step is applied prior to spectral analysis this can impact the accuracy of the quantitation. This study aims to analyze the effect of spectral denoising and apodization smoothing on the quantitation of whole-brain MRSI data obtained at short TE. Methods: Short-TE MRSI data obtained at 3 T were analyzed with no spectral smoothing, following (i) Gaussian apodization with values of 1, 2, 4, 6, and 8 Hz, and (ii) denoising using principal component analysis (dnPCA) with 3 different values for the number of retained principal components. The mean lobar white matter estimates for four metabolites, signal-to-noise ratio (SNR), spectral linewidth, and confidence intervals were compared to data reconstructed using no smoothing. Additionally, a voxel-wise comparison for N-acetylaspartate quantitation with different smoothing schemes was performed. Results: Significant pairwise differences were seen for all Gaussian smoothing methods as compared to no smoothing (p<0.001) in linewidth and metabolite estimates, whereas dnPCA methods showing no statistically significant differences in these measures. Confidence intervals decreased, and SNR increased with increasing levels of apodization smoothing or dnPCA denoising. Conclusion: Mild Gaussian apodization (≤2 Hz at 3 T) can be applied with minimal (1%) errors in quantitation; however, smoothing values greater than that can significantly affect metabolite quantification. In contrast, mild to moderate dnPCA based denoising provides quantitative results that are consistent with the analysis of unsmoothed data and this method is recommended for spectral denoising.
- Metabolite quantification
- Spectral fitting
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biomedical Engineering
- Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging