In patients with chronic hepatic encephalopathy, proton magnetic resonance spectroscopy can be used to detect specific metabolic abnormalities in the brain: MRI shows a hyperintense globus pallidus on T1-weighted sequences. We investigated the relationship between these two MR findings in a series of 25 patients with the use of quantitative data and a multiple regression analysis model. The cerebral increase in glutamine compounds and the decrease in myoinositol and choline correlated separately with globus pallidus hyperintensity, and each was complementary in accounting for this imaging finding. Such an association suggests that spectroscopic and imaging alterations are two different expressions of the reversible events that occur in the brain of patients with hepatic encephalopathy in that both disappear after liver transplantation. Globus pallidus hyperintensity seems to be a global indicator of the cerebral metabolic disorder, and the spectroscopic pattern denotes the specific metabolic alterations.