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J Cereb Blood Flow Metab. 2005 Jan;25(1):2-16.

Neurobarrier coupling in the brain: a partner of neurovascular and neurometabolic coupling?

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Department of Physiology and Pathophysiology, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, Ghent University, Ghent, Belgium.


Neurovascular and neurometabolic coupling help the brain to maintain an appropriate energy flow to the neural tissue under conditions of increased neuronal activity. Both coupling phenomena provide us, in addition, with two macroscopically measurable parameters, blood flow and intermediate metabolite fluxes, that are used to dynamically image the functioning brain. The main energy substrate for the brain is glucose, which is metabolized by glycolysis and oxidative breakdown in both astrocytes and neurons. Neuronal activation triggers increased glucose consumption and glucose demand, with new glucose being brought in by stimulated blood flow and glucose transport over the blood-brain barrier. Glucose is shuttled over the barrier by the GLUT-1 transporter, which, like all transporter proteins, has a ceiling above which no further stimulation of the transport is possible. Blood-brain barrier glucose transport is generally accepted as a nonrate-limiting step but to prevent it from becoming rate-limiting under conditions of neuronal activation, it might be necessary for the transport parameters to be adapted to the increased glucose demand. It is proposed that the blood-brain barrier glucose transport parameters are dynamically adapted to the increased glucose needs of the neural tissue after activation according to a neurobarrier coupling scheme. This review presents neurobarrier coupling within the current knowledge on neurovascular and neurometabolic coupling, and considers arguments and evidence in support of this hypothesis.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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