Cerebral glucose metabolism was measured by (18)F-fluorodeoxyglucose position emission tomography in infants at different gestational ages and with neonatal hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy. Thirty-six preterm and term infants at different gestational ages without brain injury were divided into four subgroups: ≤32 weeks (n = 4), 33-34 weeks (n = 5), 35-36 weeks (n = 12), and ≥37 weeks (n = 15). Twenty-four newborn infants with hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy were divided into three subgroups: mild (n = 13), moderate (n = 7), and severe (n = 4). Cerebral glucose metabolism manifested a trend toward increase, and the structure of cranial (18)F-fluorodeoxyglucose positron emission tomography images became clear with increased gestational age, especially at ≥37 weeks. Uptakes of (18)F-fluorodeoxyglucose in the ≥37-week group were significantly higher than in the ≤32-week group (P < 0.01). Cerebral glucose metabolism changed significantly in neonatal hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy, and was either unbalanced bilaterally or relatively low at all sites. Moreover, uptakes of (18)F-fluorodeoxyglucose were significantly lower in severe than in mild and medium hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy (P < 0.05). Cerebral glucose metabolism, as measured by (18)F-fluorodeoxyglucose positron emission tomography, may prove useful for estimating brain development and injury in newborn infants, and its clinical values need further investigation.
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