Glucose readily supplies the brain with the majority of carbon needed to sustain neurotransmitter production and utilization. The rate of brain glucose metabolism can be computed using (13)C nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy by detecting changes in (13)C contents of products generated by cerebral metabolism. As previously observed, scalar coupling between adjacent (13)C carbons (multiplets) can provide additional information to (13)C contents for the computation of metabolic rates. Most NMR studies have been conducted in large animals (often under anesthesia) because the mass of the target organ is a limiting factor for NMR. Yet, despite the challengingly small size of the mouse brain, NMR studies are highly desirable because the mouse constitutes a common animal model for human neurological disorders. We have developed a method for the ex vivo resolution of NMR multiplets arising from the brain of an awake mouse after the infusion of [1,6-(13)C(2)]glucose. NMR spectra obtained by this method display favorable signal-to-noise ratios. With this infusion protocol, the (13)C multiplets of glutamate, glutamine, GABA and aspartate achieved steady state after 150 min. The method enables the accurate resolution of multiplets over time in the awake mouse brain. We anticipate that this method can be broadly applicable to compute brain fluxes in normal and transgenic mouse models of neurological disorders.
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