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PLoS One. 2013;8(3):e60085. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0060085. Epub 2013 Mar 28.

Comparison of regional cerebral blood flow responses to hypoglycemia using pulsed arterial spin labeling and positron emission tomography.

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Department of Pediatrics, Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis, MO, USA.


Different brain regions sense and modulate the counterregulatory responses that can occur in response to declining plasma glucose levels. The aim of this study was to determine if changes in regional cerebral blood flow (rCBF) during hypoglycemia relative to euglycemia are similar for two imaging modalities-pulsed arterial spin labeling magnetic resonance imaging (PASL-MRI) and positron emission tomography (PET). Nine healthy non-diabetic participants underwent a hyperinsulinemic euglycemic (92±3 mg/dL) - hypoglycemic (53±1 mg/dL) clamp. Counterregulatory hormone levels were collected at each of these glycemic levels and rCBF measurements within the previously described network of hypoglycemia-responsive regions (thalamus, medial prefrontal cortex and globus pallidum) were obtained using PASL-MRI and [(15)O] water PET. In response to hypoglycemia, rCBF was significantly increased in the thalamus, medial prefrontal cortex, and globus pallidum compared to euglycemia for both PASL-MRI and PET methodologies. Both imaging techniques found similar increases in rCBF in the thalamus, medial prefrontal cortex, and globus pallidum in response to hypoglycemia. These brain regions may be involved in the physiologic and symptom responses to hypoglycemia. Compared to PET, PASL-MRI may provide a less invasive, less expensive method for assessing changes in rCBF during hypoglycemia without radiation exposure.

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