Regional and interindividual relationships between cerebral perfusion and oxygen metabolism

Otto M Henriksen, Albert Gjedde, Kim Vang, Ian Law, Joel Aanerud, Egill Rostrup

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Quantitative measurements of resting cerebral blood flow (CBF) and metabolic rate of oxygen (CMRO2) show large between-subject and regional variability, but the relationships between CBF and CMRO2 measurements regionally and globally are not fully established. Here, we investigated the between-subject and regional associations between CBF and CMRO2 measures with independent and quantitative PET techniques. We included resting CBF and CMRO2 measurements from 50 healthy volunteers (aged 22-81 yr), and calculated the regional and global values of oxygen delivery (Do2) and oxygen extraction fraction (OEF). Linear mixed-model analysis showed that CBF and CMRO2 measurements were closely associated regionally, but no significant between-subject association could be demonstrated, even when adjusting for arterial Pco2 and hemoglobin concentration. The analysis also showed regional differences of OEF, reflecting variable relationship between Do2 and CMRO2, resulting in lower estimates of OEF in thalami, brainstem, and mesial temporal cortices and higher estimates of OEF in occipital cortex. In the present study, we demonstrated no between-subject association of quantitative measurements of CBF and CMRO2 in healthy subjects. Thus, quantitative measurements of CBF did not reflect the underlying between-subject variability of oxygen metabolism measures, mainly because of large interindividual OEF variability not accounted for by Pco2 and hemoglobin concentration.NEW & NOTEWORTHY Using quantitative PET-measurements in healthy human subjects, we confirmed a regional association of CBF and CMRO2, but did not find an association of these values across subjects. This suggests that subjects have an individual coupling between perfusion and metabolism and shows that absolute perfusion measurements does not serve as a surrogate measure of individual measures of oxygen metabolism. The analysis further showed smaller, but significant regional differences of oxygen extraction fraction at rest.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Applied Physiology
Pages (from-to)1836-1847
Number of pages12
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2021


  • Brain/diagnostic imaging
  • Cerebrovascular Circulation
  • Humans
  • Oxygen
  • Oxygen Consumption
  • Perfusion


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