Glucose is the predominant fuel supporting brain function. If the brain's entire glucose supply is consumed by oxidative phosphorylation, the molar ratio of oxygen to glucose consumption (OGI) is equal to 6. An OGI of less than 6 is evidence of non-oxidative glucose metabolism. Several studies have reported that the OGI in the resting human brain is less than 6.0, but the exact value remains uncertain. Additionally, it is not clear if lactate efflux accounts for the difference between OGI and its theoretical value of 6.0. To address these issues, we conducted a meta-analysis of OGI and oxygen-to-carbohydrate (glucose + 0.5∗lactate; OCI) ratios in healthy young and middle-aged adults. We identified 47 studies that measured at least one of these ratios using arterio-venous differences of glucose, lactate, and oxygen. Using a Bayesian random effects model, the population median OGI was 5.46 95% credible interval (5.25-5.66), indicating that approximately 9% of the brain's glucose metabolism is non-oxidative. The population median OCI was 5.60 (5.36-5.84), suggesting that lactate efflux does not account for all non-oxidative glucose consumption. Significant heterogeneity across studies was observed, which implies that further work is needed to characterize how demographic and methodological factors influence measured cerebral metabolic ratios.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0204242
JournalPloS one
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2018


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