BACKGROUNDFructose-1,6-bisphosphate (FBP) sometimes provides substantial cerebral protection during hypoxia or ischemia. 31P/1H nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy of cerebrocortical slices was used to study the effects of FBP on hypoxia-induced metabolic changes. In addition, 13C-labeled glucose was administered and 13C nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy was used to search for FBP-induced modulations in glycolysis and the pentose-phosphate pathway.METHODSIn each experiment, 80 slices (350 microm) obtained from ten 7-day-old Sprague-Dawley rat litter mates were placed together in a 20-mm nuclear magnetic resonance tube, perfused, and subjected to 30 min of hypoxia (PO2 < 3 mmHg). Nine experiments were performed, with n = 3 in each of three groups: (1) no treatment with FBP; (2) 60 min of prehypoxia treatment with FBP (2 mM); and (3) 60 min of posthypoxia treatment with FBP (2 mM). 31P/1H Interleaved nuclear magnetic resonance spectra at 4.7 T provided average adenosine triphosphate, intracellular pH, and lactate. Cresyl violet stains of random slices taken at predetermined time points were studied histologically. Some experiments had [2-13C]glucose in the perfusate. Slices from these studies were frozen for perchloric acid extraction of intracellular metabolites and studied with high-resolution 13C nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy at 11.75 T.RESULTSWith no pretreatment with FBP, hypoxia caused an approximately 50% loss of adenosine triphosphate, an approximately 700% increase in lactate, and a decrease in intracellular pH to approximately 6.4. Pretreatment with FBP resulted in no detectable loss of adenosine triphosphate, no increase in lactate, and minimal morphologic changes but did not alter decreases in intracellular pH. 13C Nuclear magnetic resonance spectra of extracted metabolites showed that pretreatment caused accumulation of [1-13C]fructose-6-phosphate, an early pentose-phosphate pathway metabolite. Posthypoxic treatment with FBP had no effects compared with no treatment.CONCLUSIONSDuring severe hypoxia, pretreatment with FBP completely preserves adenosine triphosphate and almost completely preserves cell morphology but does not alter hypoxia-induced decreases in intracellular pH. Pretreatment also substantially augments the flux of glucose into the pentose-phosphate pathway.