Nonlinear coupling between cerebral blood flow, oxygen consumption, and ATP production in human visual cortex

Ai Ling Lin, Peter T. Fox, Jean Hardies, Timothy Q. Duong, Jia Hong Gao

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

120 Scopus citations


The purpose of this study was to investigate activation-induced hypermetabolism and hyperemia by using a multifrequency (4, 8, and 16 Hz) reversing-checkerboard visual stimulation paradigm. Specifically, we sought to (i) quantify the relative contributions of the oxidative and nonoxidative metabolic pathways in meeting the increased energy demands [i.e., ATP production (JATP)] of task-induced neuronal activation and (ii) determine whether task-induced cerebral blood flow(CBF) augmentation was driven by oxidative or nonoxidative metabolic pathways. Focal increases in CBF, cerebral metabolic rate of oxygen (CMRO2; i.e., index of aerobic metabolism), and lactate production (JLac; i.e., index of anaerobic metabolism) were measured by using physiologically quantitative MRI and spectroscopy methods. Task-induced increases in JATP were small (12.2-16.7%) at all stimulation frequencies and were generated by aerobic metabolism (approximately 98%), with %ΔJATP being linearly correlated with the percentage change in CMRO2 (r = 1.00, P < 0.001). In contrast, taskinduced increases in CBF were large (51.7-65.1%) and negatively correlated with the percentage change in CMRO2 (r=-0.64,P=0.024),but positively correlated with %ΔJLac (r = 0.91, P < 0.001). These results indicate that (i) the energy demand of task-induced brain activation is small (approximately 15%) relative to the hyperemic response (approximately 60%), (ii) this energy demand is met through oxidative metabolism, and (iii) the CBF response is mediated by factors other than oxygen demand.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)8446-8451
Number of pages6
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number18
StatePublished - May 4 2010
Externally publishedYes


  • Cerebral metabolic rate of oxygen
  • Lactate production

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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