Oxygen metabolism, oxygen extraction and positron emission tomography: Historical perspective and impact on basic and clinical neuroscience

Neuroimage. 2012 Jun;61(2):492-504. doi: 10.1016/j.neuroimage.2011.12.036. Epub 2011 Dec 28.


Oxygen utilization is central to the human brain's high metabolic rate. Measurement of this fundamental process, in both disease and health, has been a focus of research attention over the last 35 years. This review plots the course of the use of oxygen-15 to study regional cerebral oxygen extraction and metabolism using Positron Emission Tomography (PET) in disease and in health. The scientific discoveries and resulting conceptual changes to both basic and clinical neuroscience, as well as the new methodological approaches brought about by this area of research, are also summarized. We conclude with a brief overview of the current status of oxygen-15 PET in neuroscience, along with our visions for future developments and applications.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Brain / diagnostic imaging*
  • Brain / physiology
  • Brain Chemistry / physiology
  • Brain Mapping
  • Humans
  • Neurosciences / methods*
  • Oxygen / blood
  • Oxygen Consumption / physiology*
  • Oxygen Radioisotopes
  • Positron-Emission Tomography / methods*
  • Radiopharmaceuticals


  • Oxygen Radioisotopes
  • Radiopharmaceuticals
  • Oxygen