The aim of this study was to investigate possible metabolic alterations in cerebral tissues on magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS) in patients with impaired glucose tolerance (IGT) and with type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2-DM). Twenty-five patients with T2-DM, 13 patients with IGT, and 14 healthy volunteers were included. Single-voxel spectroscopy (TR: 2000 ms, TE: 31 ms) was performed in all subjects. Voxels were placed in the frontal cortex, thalamus, and parietal white matter. N-acetylaspartate (NAA)/creatine (Cr), choline (Cho)/Cr, and myo-inositol (MI)/Cr ratios were calculated. Frontal cortical Cho/Cr ratios were increased in patients with IGT compared to control subjects. Parietal white matter Cho/Cr ratios were significantly higher in patients with IGT when compared to patients with T2-DM. In the diabetic group, frontal cortical MI/Cr ratios were increased, and parietal white matter Cho/Cr ratios were decreased when compared to the control group. Frontal cortical NAA/Cr and Cho/Cr ratios and parietal white matter Cho/Cr ratios were decreased in diabetic patients with poor glycemic control (AlC>10%). AlC levels were inversely correlated with frontal cortical NAA/Cr and Cho/Cr ratios and with parietal white matter Cho/Cr ratios. T2-DM and IGT may cause subtle cerebral metabolic changes, and these changes may be shown with MRS. Increased Cho/Cr ratios may suggest dynamic change in membrane turnover in patients with IGT. Diabetic patients with poor glycemic control may be associated with neuronal dysfunction/damage in brain in accordance with AlC levels and, in some, extend with insulin resistance. (C) 2008 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.