Neuroenergetics: food for thoughts

Brain operation requires important amounts of energy. Proportionally, the brain represents only 2% of the body weight but it receives 20% of the cardiac output while consuming 15% of the oxygen and at least 25% of the circulating glucose at rest. For this reason, adequate supply and utilization of energy substrates is absolutely critical to ensure normal cerebral function. Specific mechanisms have developed to regulate cerebral energy homeostasis. Among them it was shown that astrocytes, a specific class of supporting cells in the central nervous system, play a prominent role in the supply of energy substrates to neurons. Monocarboxylates, which include lactate and ketone bodies, form a new class of energy substrates that can be provided to neurons under specific conditions in order to sustain their activity. Our laboratory focus on the key roles that monocarboxylate transporters (MCTs), expressed in the central nervous system as well as in peripheral tissues, might play in the regulation of energy metabolism and on specific cerebral processes relevant for cognition.

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