Magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS) is a noninvasive method that allows the in vivo investigation of biochemical changes in both animals and humans. The application of MRS to the study of stroke has made possible dynamic studies of intracellular metabolism in cerebral ischemia. In vivo spectroscopy in humans is normally carried out at 1. 5 T and in animals can be carried out as high as 9. 4. Chemical shift imaging (CSI) allows assessment of the extent and distribution of in vivo biochemical changes. Histochemical and cell culture studies have shown that specific cell types or structures have metabolites that give rise to particular [1H]-MRS peaks. MRS has the potential to provide useful information to improve our understanding of the mechanisms underlying recovery and persistent disability. Further development of CSI and data processing techniques are required to move the use of spectroscopy further into the clinical domain.