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Metabolism. 1996 Aug;45(8):974-80.

The effects of acute hypoglycemia on relative cerebral blood flow distribution in patients with type I (insulin-dependent) diabetes and impaired hypoglycemia awareness.

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Department of Diabetes, Royal Infirmary, Edinburgh, Scotland.


To examine the hypothesis that in diabetic patients with impaired hypoglycemia awareness the relative regional distribution of cerebral blood flow (rCBF) would be abnormal in a specific area, namely the frontal lobes, rCBF was examined in 20 type I diabetic patients, of whom 10 had a normal awareness of hypoglycemia and 10 had a history of impaired hypoglycemia awareness. rCBF was determined sequentially using single photon emission computed tomography (SPECT) during (1) normoglycemia (arterialized blood glucose 4.5 mmol. L-1) and (2) hypoglycemia (blood glucose 2.5 mmol.L-1) induced by a hyperinsulinemic glucose clamp technique. Distribution of the isotope, 99mTc-Exametazime, was detected using a single-slice multi-detector head scanner. A split-dose technique was used, with 250 MBq being injected during steady-state normoglycemia and 250 MBq during subsequent hypoglycemia. rCBF was estimated in 30 regions of interest, derived from a standard neuroanatomical atlas on two parallel slices at 40 and 60 mm above the orbitomeatal line (OML). No between-group differences in the pattern of overall rCBF or changes in regional tracer uptake were demonstrated. In comparison to the rCBF during normoglycemia, both patient groups exhibited significant changes in the pattern of rCBF during hypoglycemia, with increments of rCBF to both superior frontal cortices and the right thalamus and reduced rCBF to the right posterior cingulate cortex and the right putamen. This pattern of relative redistribution of rCBF during hypoglycemia was preserved in patients who had impaired hypoglycemia awareness.

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