Human cerebral blood flow and metabolism in acute insulin-induced hypoglycemia

Richard P. Kennan, Kan Takahashi, Cynthia Pan, Harry Shamoon, Jullie W. Pan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

35 Scopus citations


How the human brain functions under conditions of acute hypoglycemia remains a complex question by virtue of the potential simultaneous shifts in processes of perfusion, metabolism, and changing demand. We examined this issue by measuring cerebral blood flow (CBF) and oxidative metabolism (CMRO 2) in insulin-induced hypoglycemic (HG) and euglycemic (EG) conditions at rest and during motor activation in normal human subjects using magnetic resonance (MR). Experiments were performed on 12 subjects (9M, 3F). The protocol consisted of insulin-induced hypoglycemia (targeting a HG of 60mg/dL) followed by euglycemia, or in reverse order, each phase lasting approximately 1.5h. Euglycemia was performed with the same insulin infusion rate so as to match the hypoglycemic phase. Magnetic resonance data were acquired 30 mins after the target plasma glucose was achieved so as to minimize any acute effects. Although the depth of hypoglycemia achieved in the present study was relatively small, the present data found a significant increase in flow in motor cortex with mild hypoglycemia, from 56.4±13.6mL/100 g min (euglycemia) to 64.3± 7.6mL/100 g min (hypoglycemia). Using the Renkin-Crone exponential model of oxygen extraction with MR models of susceptibility-based relaxation, analysis of the flow measurements, relaxation and BOLD data also implied that throughout the studies, metabolism and flow remained coupled. Elementary motor task activation was not associated with any consistent larger activated flows. Thus it remains that although mild hypoglycemia induced an increase in basal flow and metabolism, a similar increase was not seen in task activation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)527-534
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Cerebral Blood Flow and Metabolism
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2005


  • Functional magnetic resonance
  • Human
  • Hypoglycemia
  • Insulin
  • Perfusion

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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