The metabolism of 14C-glucose by neurons and astrocytes in brain subregions following focal cerebral ischemia in rats Academic Article uri icon


  • To provide insights into the effects of temporary focal ischemia on the function of neurons and astrocytes in vivo, we measured the incorporation of radiolabel from [U-14C]glucose into both glutamate and glutamine in brain subregions at 1 h of reperfusion following occlusion of the middle cerebral artery for 2 or 3 h. Under the experimental conditions used, 14C-glutamate is mainly produced in neurons whereas 14C-glutamine is generated in astrocytes from 14C-glutamate of both neuronal and astrocytic origin. Radiolabel incorporation into both amino acids was greatly decreased. The change in 14C-glutamate accumulation provides strong evidence for substantial reductions in neuronal glucose metabolism. The resulting decrease in delivery of 14C-glutamate from the neurons to astrocytes was probably also the major contributor to the change in 14C-glutamine content. These alterations probably result in part from a marked depression of glycolytic activity in the neurons, as suggested by previous studies assessing deoxyglucose utilization. Alterations in 14C-glucose metabolism were not restricted to tissue that would subsequently become infarcted. Thus, these changes did not inevitably lead to death of the affected cells. The ATP : ADP ratio and phosphocreatine content were essentially preserved during recirculation following 2 h of ischemia and showed at most only moderate losses in some subregions following 3 h of ischemia. This retention of energy reserves despite the decreases in 14C-glucose metabolism in neurons suggests that energy needs were substantially reduced in the post-ischemic brain. Marked increases in tissue lactate accumulation during recirculation, particularly following 3 h of ischemia, provided evidence that impaired pyruvate oxidation probably also contributed to the altered 14C-glucose metabolism. These findings indicate the presence of complex changes in energy metabolism that are likely to greatly influence the responses of neurons and astrocytes to temporary focal ischemia.

publication date

  • May 2006

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