Evidence for coupling between glucose metabolism and glutamate cycling using FDG PET and 1H magnetic resonance spectroscopy in patients with epilepsy

J Cereb Blood Flow Metab. 2000 May;20(5):871-8. doi: 10.1097/00004647-200005000-00014.


The purpose of this study was to examine the relation between glucose metabolism and glutamate concentration in the human brain, in both the normal and diseased state. Regional values of glucose metabolism measured with 2-deoxy-2[F-18]fluoro-D-glucose positron emission tomography (FDG PET) studies and single-voxel proton magnetic resonance spectroscopy (1H MRS) measurements of the glutamate/ glutamine/gamma-aminobutyric acid (Glx) tissue concentration were determined in multiple brain regions in 11 patients (5 girls and 6 boys, mean age 7.5 years) with medically intractable partial epilepsy. FDG PET and 1H MRS studies were performed in the interictal state in seven patients and in the ictal/periictal state in four patients. Regions of interest were identified in epileptic cortex (determined by intracranial and/or scalp electroencephalography) and in contralateral normal brain regions. Lower glucose metabolism and lower Glx concentrations were found in the epileptic focus than in the contralateral normal cortex in all seven patients examined in the interictal state, whereas higher glucose metabolism and higher Glx concentrations were observed in the epileptic focus in the four patients who had ictal/periictal studies. Significant correlations were found between the values of cerebral glucose utilization and Glx concentration in epileptic brain region, in nonepileptic brain regions, and in epileptic and nonepileptic regions combined. These results demonstrate a significant relation between glucose metabolism and glutamate/glutamine concentration in normal and epileptic cerebral cortex. This relation is maintained in both the interictal and ictal states.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Epilepsy / diagnostic imaging*
  • Epilepsy / metabolism*
  • Female
  • Fluorodeoxyglucose F18
  • Glucose / metabolism*
  • Glutamic Acid / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy
  • Male
  • Protons
  • Radiopharmaceuticals
  • Tomography, Emission-Computed*


  • Protons
  • Radiopharmaceuticals
  • Fluorodeoxyglucose F18
  • Glutamic Acid
  • Glucose