, Volume 3, Issue 3, pp 169-180

Agonal status affects the metabolic activity of nerve endings isolated from postmortem human brain

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Isolated nerve endings (synaptosomes) that show high rates of metabolic activity have been prepared up to 24 h postmortem from the brains of patients who have died suddenly. In contrast, similar preparations from brains of patients dying after a prolonged terminal illness showed little or no respiration. These data suggest that the agonal state of the patient is of major importance when investigating specific defects in neurotransmitter function in cerebral disorders and effects of neuroactive drugs on human tissue.