N‐acetyl‐L‐aspartate (NAA) is an important NMR object in the mammalian brain almost exclusively present in neurons. It is the most concentrated acetylated amino acid in human brain, at about 10mM, and one of the most concentrated amino acids present in neurons, at about 20mM. NAA has a strong proton MRS signature, at about 2.02 ppm, and is considered to be a specific marker for neuron density and/or viability and an indicator of neuronal loss in many human‐brain pathologies. The “NAA' signal is used as a reference point in most brain MRS studies, and its ratio to other brain metabolites, many of which are present in different cells, indicates focal or global brain health in many medical conditions.NAA's high concentration in brain has prompted a search for its function. In 2000, its unique tricellular metabolism was documented. In neurons, NAA is synthesized via NAA synthase from acetyl coenzyme A, derived from the oxidation of glucose (Glc), and L‐aspartate (Asp). The dipeptide N‐acetylaspartylglutamate (NAAG) is then synthesized from NAA and L‐glutamate (Glu) via NAAG synthase; this is the only known pathway for NAAG synthesis. Both NAA and NAAG turn over every 14 to16 hours, but, remarkably, neither substance can be catabolized by
NMR in Biomedicine (Electronic) – Wiley
Published: Jan 1, 2018
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