Variable ATP yields and uncoupling of oxygen consumption in human brain.

Albert Gjedde, Joel Aanerud, Ericka Peterson, Mahmoud Ashkanian, Peter Iversen, Manoucher Vafaee, Arne Møller, Per Borghammer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The distribution of brain oxidative metabolism values among healthy humans is astoundingly wide for a measure that reflects normal brain function and is known to change very little with most changes of brain function. It is possible that the part of the oxygen consumption rate that is coupled to ATP turnover is the same in all healthy human brains, with different degrees of uncoupling explaining the variability of total oxygen consumption among people. To test the hypothesis that about 75% of the average total oxygen consumption of human brains is common to all individuals, we determined the variability in a large group of normal healthy adults. To establish the degree of variability in different regions of the brain, we measured the regional cerebral metabolic rate for oxygen in 50 healthy volunteers aged 21-66 and projected the values to a common age of 25.Within each subject and region, we normalized the metabolic rate to the population average of that region. Coefficients of variation ranged from 10 to 15% in the different regions of the human brain and the normalized regional metabolic rates ranged from 70% to 140% of the population average for each region, equal to a two-fold variation. Thus the hypothetical threshold of oxygen metabolism coupled to ATP turnover in all subjects is no more than 70% of the average oxygen consumption of that population.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)243-248
Number of pages6
JournalAdvances in Experimental Medicine and Biology
StatePublished - 2011
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Medicine(all)


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