Energy metabolism of adult astrocytes in vitro

S Peuchen*, MR Duchen, JB Clark

*Corresponding author for this work

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Abstract

In this study we established cultures of astrocytes from the forebrain of the adult rat. The homeostatic regulatory mechanisms of the aerobic and anaerobic pathways of energy metabolism in these cells showed that adult astrocytes express many of the regulatory properties previously demonstrated in neonatal astrocytes. Changes in mitochondrial respiration and ATP production were readily evident upon incubation with the relevant substrates. Inhibition of mitochondrial respiration led to a compensatory increase in anaerobic glycolysis as evidenced by an increased release of lactate. We assessed the role of cytosolic calcium in the regulation of the mitochondrial energy metabolism. Increases in cytosolic calcium concentration in response to ATP or stimulation of mechanical receptors were followed by depolarizations of the mitochondrial membrane potential, whose magnitude reflected the amplitude of the cytosolic calcium response. The changes in mitochondrial membrane potential were largely dependent on the presence of external calcium.

These results provide the first evidence of a signalling mechanism in astrocytes by which changes in cytosolic calcium mediate changes in respiration, possibly through mitochondrial calcium uptake and subsequent activation of several mitochondrial dehydrogenases. This signalling pathway would thus ensure that energy demands due to changes in cytosolic calcium concentrations are met by increases in energy production through increases in mitochondrial oxidative phosphorylation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)855-870
Number of pages16
JournalNeuroscience
Volume71
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Apr-1996
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • astrocytes
  • glia
  • adult
  • energy metabolism
  • calcium
  • mitochondria
  • HUMAN-BRAIN CULTURES
  • RAT-BRAIN
  • GLIAL-CELLS
  • TYPE-1 ASTROCYTES
  • DISSOCIATED CELLS
  • PROGENITOR CELLS
  • CEREBRAL-CORTEX
  • ACRIDINE-ORANGE
  • NERVOUS-SYSTEM
  • MOUSE-BRAIN

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