Simultaneous determination of the rates of the TCA cycle, glucose utilization, alpha-ketoglutarate/glutamate exchange, and glutamine synthesis in human brain by NMR

J Cereb Blood Flow Metab. 1995 Jan;15(1):12-25. doi: 10.1038/jcbfm.1995.2.


13C isotopic tracer data previously obtained by 13C nuclear magnetic resonance in the human brain in vivo were analyzed using a mathematical model to determine metabolic rates in a region of the human neocortex. The tricarboxylic acid (TCA) cycle rate was 0.73 +/- 0.19 mumol min-1 g-1 (mean +/- SD; n = 4). The standard deviation reflects primarily intersubject variation, since individual uncertainties were low. The rate of alpha-ketoglutarate/glutamate exchange was 57 +/- 26 mumol min-1 g-1 (n = 3), which is much greater than the TCA cycle rate; the high rate indicates that alpha-ketoglutarate and glutamate are in rapid exchange and can be treated as a single combined kinetic pool. The rate of synthesis of glutamine from glutamate was 0.47 mumol min-1 g-1 (n = 4), with 95% confidence limits of 0.139 and 3.094 mumol min-1 g-1; individual uncertainties were biased heavily toward high synthesis rates. From the TCA cycle rate the brain oxygen consumption was estimated to be 2.14 +/- 0.48 mumol min-1 g-1 (5.07 +/- 1.14 ml 100 g-1 min-1; n = 4), and the rate of brain glucose consumption was calculated to be 0.37 +/- 0.08 mumol min-1 g-1 (n = 4). The sensitivity of the model to the assumptions made was evaluated, and the calculated values were found to be unchanged as long as the assumptions remained near reported physiological values.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Brain / metabolism*
  • Carbon Isotopes
  • Citric Acid Cycle*
  • Glucose / metabolism*
  • Glutamic Acid / metabolism*
  • Glutamine / biosynthesis*
  • Glycolysis
  • Humans
  • Ketoglutaric Acids / metabolism*
  • Ketone Bodies / metabolism
  • Kinetics
  • Lactates / metabolism
  • Lactic Acid
  • Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy
  • Mathematics
  • Models, Biological
  • Oxygen Consumption
  • Pyruvate Carboxylase / metabolism
  • Pyruvates / metabolism
  • Pyruvic Acid


  • Carbon Isotopes
  • Ketoglutaric Acids
  • Ketone Bodies
  • Lactates
  • Pyruvates
  • Glutamine
  • Lactic Acid
  • Glutamic Acid
  • Pyruvic Acid
  • Pyruvate Carboxylase
  • Glucose