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Science. 2004 Jul 2;305(5680):99-103.

Neural activity triggers neuronal oxidative metabolism followed by astrocytic glycolysis.

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  • 1School of Applied and Engineering Physics, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY 14853, USA.

Abstract

We have found that two-photon fluorescence imaging of nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NADH) provides the sensitivity and spatial three-dimensional resolution to resolve metabolic signatures in processes of astrocytes and neurons deep in highly scattering brain tissue slices. This functional imaging reveals spatiotemporal partitioning of glycolytic and oxidative metabolism between astrocytes and neurons during focal neural activity that establishes a unifying hypothesis for neurometabolic coupling in which early oxidative metabolism in neurons is eventually sustained by late activation of the astrocyte-neuron lactate shuttle. Our model integrates existing views of brain energy metabolism and is in accord with known macroscopic physiological changes in vivo.

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