Study of tricarboxylic acid cycle flux changes in human visual cortex during hemifield visual stimulation using (1)H-[(13)C] MRS and fMRI
The relationships between brain activity and accompanying hemodynamic and metabolic alterations, particularly between the cerebral metabolic rate of oxygen utilization (CMR(O2)) and cerebral blood flow (CBF), are not thoroughly established. CMR(O2) is closely coupled to the rate of tricarboxylic acid (TCA) cycle flux. In this study, the changes in glutamate labeling during (13)C labeled glucose administration were determined in the human brain as an index of alterations in neuronal TCA cycle turnover during increased neuronal activity. Two-volume (1)H-[(13)C] MR spectroscopy (MRS) of the visual cortex was combined with functional MRI (fMRI) at 4 Tesla. Hemifield visual stimulation was employed to obtain data simultaneously from activated and control regions located symmetrically in the two hemispheres of the brain. The results showed that the fractional change in the turnover rate of C4 carbon of glutamate was less than that of CBF during visual stimulation. The fractional changes in CMR(O2) (Delta CMR(O2)) induced by activation must be equal to or less than the fractional change in glutamate labeling kinetics. Therefore, the results impose an upper limit of approximately 30% for Delta CMR(O2) and demonstrate: 1) that fractional CBF increases exceed Delta CMR(O2) during elevated activity in the visual cortex, and 2) that such an unequal change would explain the observed positive blood oxygenation level dependent (BOLD) effect in fMRI. Magn Reson Med 45:349-355, 2001.