Purpose: To evaluate the feasibility of using a clinical magnetic resonance (MR) system and MR spectroscopy (MRS) to measure glucose concentration changes in the human hypothalamus, a structure central to whole-body glucose regulation. Subjects and Methods: A time series of MR spectra (semi-LASER, TE = 28 msec), localized to the bilateral hypothalamus (∼1.6 ml) were obtained at 3T in six healthy subjects at baseline (euglycemia) and during a ∼65–70-minute-long hyperglycemic clamp in 11-minute blocks with interleaved T1 FLASH images to retrospectively assess head motion, and track changes in cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) partial volume. The LCModel was used to quantify the sum of glucose and taurine concentrations, [Glc+Tau], along with their associated Cramér-Rao lower bounds (CRLB). Results: Spectral quality allowed quantification of [Glc+Tau] (sum reported due to high negative correlation between these metabolites) with CRLB <25% in 35/36 timepoints during hyperglycemia. Increased [Glc+Tau] was observed with hyperglycemia in all subjects, but most reliably in those with plasma glucose targets ≥300 mg/dl. For these subjects, [Glc+Tau]baseline (n = 4) was 1.5 (±0.3, SD) mM, and increased to 4.5 (±1.1) mM (n = 16) for timepoints acquired ≥25 minutes after onset of the clamp, with 15/16 timepoints having no overlap of 95% confidence intervals (CIs) between baseline and hyperglycemia. Preliminary analysis revealed a linear (1:5) relationship between hypothalamus–blood glucose concentrations. Conclusion: It is feasible to measure glucose concentration changes in the human hypothalamus using a standard 3T scanner and a short-echo semi-LASER sequence by utilizing retrospective motion tracking, CSF correction, predetermined quality acceptance criteria, and hyperglycemic blood glucose levels ≥300 mg/dl. Level of Evidence: 2. J. Magn. Reson. Imaging 2017;45:681–691.
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© 2016 International Society for Magnetic Resonance in Medicine
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