The use of different 13C-labelled precursors alone or in combination ([1-13C]glucose, [2-13C]glucose, [1-13C]acetate, [2-13C]acetate and [1,2-13C2]acetate) to study neuronal/glial metabolic relationships by MRS is discussed. Glutamine and citrate resonances represent glial metabolism if a combination of [1-13C]glucose + [2-13C]acetate is used, but only for short time periods. A combination of [2-13C]glucose + [2-13C]acetate will label -COO- groups from glucose and -CH2 groups from acetate, respectively, which distinguish well in theory. However, this approach is severely limited by the long T1S of -COO- groups and low S/N. Contributions of the anaplerotic pathway can be assessed using [2-13C]glucose, but again can be limited by the long T1S of -COO- groups. Labelling of glycerol-3-phosphate (believed to be produced in glia) from [1-13C]glucose is difficult to see under normal conditions but has proved useful in, e.g., hypoxia. We believe the most promising approach is the use of [1-13C] glucose with [1,2-13C2]acetate, by analysis of the multiplets ('isotopomers') of the amino acid resonances.