Comparison of regional cerebral blood flow and glucose metabolism in the normal brain: effect of aging

J Neurol Sci. 2000 Dec 1;181(1-2):19-28. doi: 10.1016/s0022-510x(00)00396-8.


The regional cerebral blood flow (rCBF) and metabolic rate for glucose (rCMRGlc) are associated with functional activity of the neural cells. The present work reports a comparison study between rCBF and rCMRGlc in a normal population as a function of age. 10 young (25.9+/-5.6 years) and 10 old (65.4+/-6.1 years) volunteers were similarly studied at rest. In each subject, rCBF and rCMRGlc were measured in sequence, during the same session. Both rCBF and rCMRGlc values were found to decrease from young (mean rCBF=43.7 ml/100 g per min; mean rCMRGlc=40.6 micromol/100 g per min) to old age (mean rCBF=37.3 ml/100 g per min; mean rCMRGlc=35.2 micromol/100 g per min), resulting in a drop over 40 years of 14.8% (0.37%/year) and 13.3% (0.34%/year), respectively. On a regional basis, the frontal and the visual cortices were observed to have, respectively, the highest and the lowest reduction in rCBF, while, for rCMRGlc, these extremes were observed in striatum and cerebellum. Despite these differences, the ratio of rCBF to rCMRGlc was found to have a similar behavior in all brain regions for young and old subjects as shown by a correlation coefficient of 88%. This comparative study indicates a decline in rCBF and rCMRGlc values and a coupling between CBF and CMRGlc as a function of age.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aging / physiology*
  • Brain / anatomy & histology
  • Brain / diagnostic imaging
  • Brain / metabolism*
  • Cerebrovascular Circulation / physiology*
  • Female
  • Glucose / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Tomography, Emission-Computed


  • Glucose