Net increase of lactate and glutamate concentration in activated human visual cortex detected with magnetic resonance spectroscopy at 7 tesla

J Neurosci Res. 2013 Aug;91(8):1076-83. doi: 10.1002/jnr.23194. Epub 2013 Feb 1.


After the landmark studies reporting changes in the cerebral metabolic rate of glucose (CMRGlc ) in excess of those in oxygen (CMRO2 ) during physiological stimulation, several studies have examined the fate of the extra carbon taken up by the brain, reporting a wide range of changes in brain lactate from 20% to 250%. The present study reports functional magnetic resonance spectroscopy measurements at 7 Tesla using the enhanced sensitivity to study a small cohort (n = 6). Small increases in lactate (19% ± 4%, P < 0.05) and glutamate (4% ± 1%, P < 0.001) were seen within the first 2 min of activation. With the exception of glucose (12% ± 5%, P < 0.001), no other metabolite concentration changes beyond experimental error were significantly observed. Therefore, the present study confirms that lactate and glutamate changes during physiological stimulation are small (i.e. below 20%) and shows that the increased sensitivity allows reproduction of previous results with fewer subjects. In addition, the initial rate of glutamate and lactate concentration increases implies an increase in CMRO2 that is slightly below that of CMRGlc during the first 1-2 min of activation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Female
  • Glutamic Acid / analysis
  • Glutamic Acid / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Lactic Acid / analysis
  • Lactic Acid / metabolism*
  • Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy / methods*
  • Male
  • Visual Cortex / metabolism*
  • Young Adult


  • Lactic Acid
  • Glutamic Acid