Alcohol consumption significantly influences the MR signal of frontal choline-containing compounds

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The aim of this work was to evaluate the relationship between the amount of alcohol consumption of a group of social drinkers and the magnetic resonance spectroscopy signal of choline-containing compounds (Cho) in the frontal lobe. Two independent long echo (TE = 135 ms) 1H MRSI studies, the first comprising 24 subjects with very low alcohol consumption, the second 18 subjects with a more widespread alcohol consumption were conducted. Significant correlations of Cho measures from frontal white matter and from the anterior cingulate gyrus with alcohol consumption in the last 90 days prior to the MR examination were found. Age, gender, and smoking did not show significant effects on the metabolite measures. Partialling out the effect of the voxel white matter content did not change the correlation of choline measures with alcohol consumption. The main conclusion from the repeated finding of a positive correlation of alcohol consumption and frontal Cho signals is that monitoring for alcohol consumption is mandatory in MRS studies where pathology depended Cho changes are hypothesized.

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