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Effect of Hypoglycemic Encephalopathy upon Amino Acids, High-Energy Phosphates, and pHi in the Rat Brain In Vivo: Detection by Sequential 1H and 31P NMR Spectroscopy


Address correspondence and reprint requests to Kevin L. Behar, Department of Molecular Biophysics and Biochemistry, P.O. Box 6666, 260 Whitney Ave., Yale University, New Haven, CT 06511, U.S.A.


Abstract: Metabolic alterations in amino acids, high-energy phosphates, and intracellular pH during and after insulin hypoglycemia in the rat brain was studied in vivo by 1H and 31P nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy. Sequential accumulations of 1H and 31P spectra were obtained from a double-tuned surface coil positioned over the exposed skull of a rat while the electroencephalogram was recorded continuously. The transition to EEG silence was accompanied by rapid declines in phosphocreatine, nucleoside triphosphate, and an increase in inorganic orthophosphate in 31P spectra. In 1H spectra acquired during the same time interval, the resonances of glutamate and glutamine decreased in intensity while a progressive increase in aspartate was observed. Following glucose administration, glutamate and aspartate returned to control levels (recovery half-time, 8 min); recovery of glutamine was incomplete. An increase in lactate was detected in the 1H spectrum during recovery but it was not associated with any change in the intracellular pH as assessed in the corresponding 31P spectrum. Phosphocreatine returned to control levels following glucose administration, in contrast to nucleoside triphosphate and inorganic orthophosphate which recovered to only 80% and 200% of their control levels, respectively. These results show that the changes in cerebral amino acids and high-energy phosphates detected by alternating the collection of 1H and 31P spectra allow for a detailed assessment of the metabolic response of the hypoglycemic brain in vivo.