3-Hydroxy-3-Methylglutaryl coenzyme A lyase (HMG-CoA) deficiency is a rare inborn error of leucine catabolism. The disease is characterized by recurrent episodes of metabolic acidosis, hyperammonemia without ketosis, hypoglycemia, lethargy, hepatomegaly, and seizures. This study has evaluated the magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS) findings of three patients with HMG-CoA deficiency. The common findings on all of the MRI scans were multiple, coalescent, marked lesions in periventricular white matter and arcuate fibers, most prominently in frontal or periatrial regions that were superimposed on diffuse, slightly hyperintense subcortical white matter signal. Involvement of the caudate nucleus and the dentate nucleus were observed in the reported patients. MRS studies by both STEAM and PRESS spectra of all patients revealed a decrease in N-acetylaspartate and elevation in both myoinositol and choline, A pathologic peak at 1.33 ppm, which is compatible with lactate, and a particular peak at 2.42 ppm in all patients were also found. The combination of both MRI and MRS findings could be considered as being specific in patients with HMG-CoA lyase deficiency. (C) 1999 by Elsevier Science Inc. All rights reserved.