Brain glycogen metabolism was recently observed in vivo and found to be very slow in the lightly alpha-chloralose anesthetized rat [J. Neurochem. 73 (1999) 1300]. Based on that slow turnover, the total glycogen content in the awake rat brain and its turnover time were assessed after administering 13C-labeled glucose for 48 h. Label incorporation into glycogen, glucose, amino acid, and N-acetyl-aspartate (NAA) resonances was observed. The amount of 13C label incorporated into glycogen was variable and did not correlate with that in glutamate (r=-0.1, P>0.86). However, the amount of 13C label incorporated into glycogen was very similar to that in NAA (r=0.93), implying similar turnover times between brain glycogen and NAA (approximately 10 h). Absolute quantification of the total concentration of brain glycogen in the awake, normoglycemic rat yielded 3.3+/-0.8 micromol/g (n=6, mean+/-S.D.).