Many MR spectroscopy (MRS) studies of multiple sclerosis (MS) have focussed on metabolism in normal-appearing white matter (NAWM) and in white matter lesions (WML). In this study, eight patients suffering from primary or secondary progressive MS (PPMS/SPMS) and seven patients with relapsing/remitting MS (RRMS) were examined by H-1-MRS to assess metabolite levels in gray matter (GM) as well. H-1-MRS chemical-shift imaging of a cerebral volume of interest of 8x8x2 cm(3) above the lateral ventricles revealed differences between the metabolite concentrations in the three groups varying from almost significant [NAWM, choline (cho); P=0.0547] to highly significant [GM, N-acetylaspartate (NAA); P=0.0003]. In PPMS/SPMS patients, the decreases in choline, creatine (Cr) and N-acetylaspartate compared with six healthy controls were significant in GM and to a lesser extent, in NAWM. No significant differences in metabolite concentrations were found between RRMS and controls. In WML, all metabolites were reduced compared with white matter in controls (Cho: P=0.0020; Cr and NAA: P <0.0001, both). In conclusion, the concentrations of Cho, Cr and NAA are reduced in PPMS/SPMS patients, especially in GM and in WML. Despite contrary observations in previous studies, increases in the concentrations of Cr and/or Cho were not observed.