Alternative fuel for your brain

April 1, 2013

Tight control of blood glucose levels is critical to mitigating the long-term complications of diabetes; however, the intensive insulin therapy required for this control is frequently accompanied by recurrent episodes of low blood sugar (hypoglycemia). Hypoglycemic episodes have been implicated in brain damage and cognitive impairment. Though the brain depends predominantly on glucose as an energy source, it can also use alternative fuels, such as lactate, to satisfy its energy requirements.

In this issue of the Journal of Clinical Investigation, Raimund Herzog and colleagues at Yale University used (MRS) to measure the concentrations and enrichment of different energy substrates and their metabolites in a rat model of recurrent hypoglycemia. They found that recurrent hypoglycemia enhances neuronal uptake of lactate which allows the brain to retain normal neural activity during hypoglycemia.

These observations suggest that lactate supports neuronal function and indicate that supplementation of alternative fuels could protect the brain during hypoglycemia.

More information: Lactate preserves neuronal metabolism and function following antecedent recurrent hypoglycemia, J Clin Invest. doi:10.1172/JCI65105

Related Stories

Recommended for you

Flow means 'go' for proper lymph system development

July 27, 2015

The lymphatic system provides a slow flow of fluid from our organs and tissues into the bloodstream. It returns fluid and proteins that leak from blood vessels, provides passage for immune and inflammatory cells from the ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.