Tritiated 2‐deoxy‐D‐glucose: A high‐resolution marker for autoradiographic localization of brain metabolism

Ronald P. Hammer, Miles Herkenham

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


The technique for autoradiographic localization of 2‐deoxy‐D‐glucose (2DG) uptake has become a useful method for observing alterations of functional brain activity resulting from experimental manipulation. Autoradiographic resolution is improved using tritiated ([3H]) rather than carbon‐14 ([14C])2DG, due to the lower energy and shorter path of tritium emissions. In addition, lower 2DG uptake by white matter relative to gray matter is exaggerated in the [3H]2DG autoradiographs due to the greater absorption of tritium emissions by lipids. Using [3H]2DG, it is possible to observe differential metabolic labeling in various individual nuclei or portions of nuclei that is unresolvable using [14C]2DG in the awake, normal animal. Heterogeneous patterns of 2DG uptake seen only with [3H]2DG are found in the nucleus accumbens, the anterior portion of the basolateral nucleus of the amygdala, specific nuclei of the inferior olivary complex, various hypothalamic regions, and a region straddling the border of the medial and lateral habenular nuclei. The lamination of differential 2DG uptake in the hippocampus is better localized using [3H]2DG. Autoradiographic resolution of labeled 2DG is further improved when the brain is perfused prior to frozen sectioning, due perhaps to selective fixation and retention of intracellular labeled 2‐deoxy‐glycogen. A series of [3H]2DG autoradiographs are presented together with views of the Nissl‐stained sections that produced the autoradiographs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)128-139
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Comparative Neurology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 1984


  • 2‐deoxy‐D‐glucose
  • 2‐deoxy‐glycogen
  • autoradiography
  • brain metabolism
  • carbon‐14
  • tritium

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Neuroscience


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