Brain Energy Metabolism

  • Pierre J. MagistrettiEmail author
  • Igor Allaman


All the processes described in this textbook require energy. Ample clinical evidence indicates that the brain is exquisitely sensitive to perturbations of energy metabolism. This chapter, adapted from Magistretti (2008), covers the topics of energy delivery, production, and utilization by the brain. Careful consideration of the basic mechanisms of brain energy metabolism is an essential prerequisite to a full understanding of the physiology and pathophysiology of brain function. Abnormalities in brain energy metabolism are observed in a variety of pathological conditions such as neurodegenerative diseases, stroke, epilepsy, and migraine. The chapter reviews the features of brain energy metabolism at the global, regional, and cellular levels and extensively describes recent advances in the understanding of neuroglial metabolic cooperation. A particular focus is the cellular and molecular mechanisms that tightly couple neuronal activity to energy consumption. This tight coupling is at the basis of functional brain-imaging techniques, such as positron emission tomography (PET) and functional magnetic resonance imaging.


Positron Emission Tomography Pentose Phosphate Pathway Glucose Utilization Ketone Body Energy Substrate 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

Further Reading

  1. Bélanger M, Allaman I, Magistretti PJ (2011) Brain energy metabolism: focus on astrocyte-neuron metabolic cooperation. Cell Metab 14:724–738PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Figley CR, Stroman PW (2011) The role(s) of astrocytes and astrocyte activity in neurometabolism, neurovascular coupling, and the production of functional neuroimaging signals. Eur J Neurosci 33:577–588PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Frackowiak RSJ, Magistretti PJ, Shulman RG, Adams M (2001) Neuroenergetics: relevance for functional brain imaging. HFSP, StrasbourgGoogle Scholar
  4. Gladden LB (2004) Lactate metabolism: a new paradigm for the third millennium. J Physiol 558:5–30PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Magistretti PJ (2006) Neuron-glia metabolic coupling and plasticity. J Exp Biol 209:2304–2311PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Magistretti PJ (2008) Brain energy metabolism. In: Squire LR, Berg D, Bloom FE, du Lac S, Ghosh A, Spitzer NC (eds) Fundamental neuroscience. Academic Press, San Diego, pp 271–293Google Scholar
  7. Magistretti PJ, Chatton JY (2005) Relationship between L-glutamate-regulated intracellular Na(+) dynamics and ATP hydrolysis in astrocytes. J Neural Transm 112:77–85PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Pellerin L, Magistretti PJ (1994) Glutamate uptake into astrocytes stimulates aerobic glycolysis: a mechanism coupling neuronal activity to glucose utilization. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 91:10625–10629PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Raichle ME, Mintun MA (2006) Brain work and brain imaging. Annu Rev Neurosci 29:449–476PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Schurr A (2006) Lactate: the ultimate cerebral oxidative energy substrate? J Cereb Blood Flow Metab 26:142–152PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Suzuki A, Stern SA, Bozdagi O, Huntley GW, Walker RH, Magistretti PJ, Alberini CM (2011) Astrocyte-neuron lactate transport is required for long-term memory formation. Cell 144(5):810–823PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Laboratory of Neuroenergetics and Cellular DynamicsBrain Mind Institute, Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL)LausanneSwitzerland
  2. 2.Department of Psychiatry–CHUVCenter for Psychiatric NeurosciencePrilly–LausanneSwitzerland

Personalised recommendations