Acute hyperglycaemia impairs cognitive function. It is however not known, whether different brain regions are equally exposed to glucose during acute hyperglycemia or whether the brain is able to adjust its glucose uptake or metabolism in response to blood glucose fluctuation. We studied the effect of acute hyperglycaemia on the brain glucose concentration in seven men with type 1 diabetes with daily glucose fluctuations of 11 +/- 3 mmol/l, and in eleven age-matched non-diabetic men. Glucose was quantified with proton magnetic resonance spectroscopy in three different brain regions at baseline (fasting glycaemia) and twice during a 2 h hyperglycaemic clamp with plasma glucose increase of 12 mmol/l. The increase in brain glucose during acute hyperglycaemia in the non-diabetic group was: cortex (2.7 +/- 0.9 mmol/l) > thalamus (2.3 +/- 0.7 mmol/l) > white matter (1.7 +/- 0.7 mmol/l, P = 0.021 vs. cortex) and in the diabetic group: cortex (2.0 +/- 0.7 mmol/l) > white matter (1.3 +/- 0.7 mmol/l) > thalamus (1.1 +/- 0.4 mmol/l, P = 0.010 vs. cortex). In the diabetic group, the glucose increase in the thalamus was attenuated compared to the non-diabetic participants (P = 0.011). In conclusion, the increase of glucose during acute hyperglycaemia seems to be dependent on the brain tissue type. The high exposure of cortex to excess glucose and the altered glucose uptake or metabolism in the thalamus may thus contribute to hyperglycaemia related cognitive dysfunction.