Abstract— A method has been developed for the simultaneous measurement of the rates of glucose consumption in the various structural and functional components of the brain in vivo. The method can be applied to most laboratory animals in the conscious state. It is based on the use of 2-deoxy-D-[14C]glucose ([14C]DG) as a tracer for the exchange of glucose between plasma and brain and its phosphorylation by hexokinase in the tissues. [14C]DG is used because the label in its product, [14C]deoxyglucose-6-phosphate, is essentially trapped in the tissue over the time course of the measurement. A model has been designed based on the assumptions of a steady state for glucose consumption, a first order equilibration of the free [14C]DG pool in the tissue with the plasma level, and relative rates of phosphorylation of [14C]DG and glucose determined by their relative concentrations in the precursor pools and their respective kinetic constants for the hexokinase reaction. An operational equation based on this model has been derived in terms of determinable variables. A pulse of [14C]DG is administered intravenously and the arterial plasma [14C]DG and glucose concentrations monitored for a preset time between 30 and 45min. At the prescribed time, the head is removed and frozen in liquid N2-chilled Freon XII, and the brain sectioned for autoradiography. Local tissue concentrations of [14C]DG are determined by quantitative autoradiography. Local cerebral glucose consumption is calculated by the equation on the basis of these measured values.
The method has been applied to normal albino rats in the conscious state and under thiopental anesthesia. The results demonstrate that the local rates of glucose consumption in the brain fall into two distinct distributions, one for gray matter and the other for white matter. In the conscious rat the values in the gray matter vary widely from structure to structure (54-197 μmol/100 g/min) with the highest values in structures related to auditory function, e.g. medial geniculate body, superior olive, inferior colliculus, and auditory cortex. The values in white matter are more uniform (i.e. 33–40 μmo1/100 g/min) at levels approximately one-fourth to one-half those of gray matter. Heterogeneous rates of glucose consumption are frequently seen within specific structures, often revealing a pattern of cytoarchitecture. Thiopental anesthesia markedly depresses the rates of glucose utilization throughout the brain, particularly in gray matter, and metabolic rate throughout gray matter becomes more uniform at a lower level.