Covariance J-resolved spectroscopy: Theory and application in vivo

Zohaib Iqbal, Gaurav Verma, Anand Kumar, M. Albert Thomas

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS) is a powerful tool capable of investigating the metabolic status of several tissues in vivo. In particular, single-voxel-based 1H spectroscopy provides invaluable biochemical information from a volume of interest (VOI) and has therefore been used in a variety of studies. Unfortunately, typical one-dimensional MRS data suffer from severe signal overlap and thus important metabolites are difficult to distinguish. One method that is used to disentangle overlapping resonances is the two-dimensional J-resolved spectroscopy (JPRESS) experiment. Due to the long acquisition duration of the JPRESS experiment, a limited number of points are acquired in the indirect dimension, leading to poor spectral resolution along this dimension. Poor spectral resolution is problematic because proper peak assignment may be hindered, which is why the zero-filling method is often used to improve resolution as a post-processing step. However, zero-filling leads to spectral artifacts, which may affect visualization and quantitation of spectra. A novel method utilizing a covariance transformation, called covariance J-resolved spectroscopy (CovJ), was developed in order to improve spectral resolution along the indirect dimension (F1). Comparison of simulated data demonstrates that peak structures remain qualitatively similar between JPRESS and the novel method along the diagonal region (F1 = 0 Hz), whereas differences arise in the cross-peak (F1≠0 Hz) regions. In addition, quantitative results of in vivo JPRESS data acquired on a 3T scanner show significant correlations (r2>0.86, p<0.001) when comparing the metabolite concentrations between the two methods. Finally, a quantitation algorithm, ‘COVariance Spectral Evaluation of 1H Acquisitions using Representative prior knowledge’ (Cov-SEHAR), was developed in order to quantify γ-aminobutyric acid and glutamate from the CovJ spectra. These preliminary findings indicate that the CovJ method may be used to improve spectral resolution without hindering metabolite quantitation for J-resolved spectra.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere3732
JournalNMR in biomedicine
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • covariance NMR
  • enhanced spectral resolution
  • human brain
  • J-resolved spectroscopy (JPRESS)
  • Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy (MRS)
  • prior-knowledge fitting

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Medicine
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Spectroscopy


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