Feasibility of direct mapping of cerebral fluorodeoxy-D-glucose metabolism in situ at subcellular resolution using soft X-ray fluorescence
Glucose metabolism is difficult to image with cellular resolution in mammalian brain tissue, particularly with (18) fluorodeoxy-D-glucose (FDG) positron emission tomography (PET). To this end, we explored the potential of synchrotron-based low-energy X-ray fluorescence (LEXRF) to image the stable isotope of fluorine (F) in phosphorylated FDG (DG-6P) at 1 μm(2) spatial resolution in 3-μm-thick brain slices. The excitation-dependent fluorescence F signal at 676 eV varied linearly with FDG concentration between 0.5 and 10 mM, whereas the endogenous background F signal was undetectable in brain. To validate LEXRF mapping of fluorine, FDG was administered in vitro and in vivo, and the fluorine LEXRF signal from intracellular trapped FDG-6P over selected brain areas rich in radial glia was spectrally quantitated at 1 μm(2) resolution. The subsequent generation of spatial LEXRF maps of F reproduced the expected localization and gradients of glucose metabolism in retinal Müller glia. In addition, FDG uptake was localized to periventricular hypothalamic tanycytes, whose morphological features were imaged simultaneously by X-ray absorption. We conclude that the high specificity of photon emission from F and its spatial mapping at ≤1 μm resolution demonstrates the ability to identify glucose uptake at subcellular resolution and holds remarkable potential for imaging glucose metabolism in biological tissue. © 2012 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.