Background: The hardware and software differences between MR vendors and individual sites influence the quantification of MR spectroscopy data. An analysis of a large data set may help to better understand sources of the total variance in quantified metabolite levels. Purpose: To compare multisite quantitative brain MR spectroscopy data acquired in healthy participants at 26 sites by using the vendor-supplied single-voxel point-resolved spectroscopy (PRESS) sequence. Materials and Methods: An MR spectroscopy protocol to acquire short-echo-time PRESS data from the midparietal region of the brain was disseminated to 26 research sites operating 3.0-T MR scanners from three different vendors. In this prospective study, healthy participants were scanned between July 2016 and December 2017. Data were analyzed by using software with simulated basis sets customized for each vendor implementation. The proportion of total variance attributed to vendor-, site-, and participant-related effects was estimated by using a linear mixed-effects model. P values were derived through parametric bootstrapping of the linear mixed-effects models (denoted Pboot). Results: In total, 296 participants (mean age, 26 years 6 4.6; 155 women and 141 men) were scanned. Good-quality data were recorded from all sites, as evidenced by a consistent linewidth of N-acetylaspartate (range, 4.4–5.0 Hz), signal-to-noise ratio (range, 174–289), and low Cramér-Rao lower bounds (≤5%) for all of the major metabolites. Among the major metabolites, no vendor effects were found for levels of myo-inositol (Pboot >.90), N-acetylaspartate and N-acetylaspartylglutamate (Pboot = .13), or glutamate and glutamine (Pboot = .11). Among the smaller resonances, no vendor effects were found for ascorbate (Pboot = .08), aspartate (Pboot > .90), glutathione (Pboot > .90), or lactate (Pboot = .28). Conclusion: Multisite multivendor single-voxel MR spectroscopy studies performed at 3.0 T can yield results that are coherent across vendors, provided that vendor differences in pulse sequence implementation are accounted for in data analysis. However, the site-related effects on variability were more profound and suggest the need for further standardization of spectroscopic protocols.
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