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J Cereb Blood Flow Metab. 2006 Nov;26(11):1389-406. Epub 2006 Mar 15.

NAD(P)H fluorescence transients after synaptic activity in brain slices: predominant role of mitochondrial function.

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  • 1Department of Neurosciences, School of Medicine, University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, New Mexico 87131, USA.


Excitatory stimulation in hippocampal slices results in biphasic NAD(P)H fluorescence transients. Previous studies using differing stimulus protocols agreed that the oxidation phase is a consequence of mitochondrial metabolism, but the reduction phase has been attributed to (1) mitochondrial nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NADH) generation or (2) astrocytic glycolysis triggered by glutamate uptake. In an attempt to reconcile these two views, the present study examined NAD(P)H signals evoked by a wide range of stimulus durations (40 ms to 20 secs). A combination of ionotropic glutamate receptor (iGluR) antagonists (6-cyano-7-nitroquinoxaline-2,3-dione (CNQX), 2-amino-5-phosphonopentanoic acid (APV)) virtually abolished responses to brief stimuli (40 to 200 ms, 50 Hz), but a significant fraction of the signal elicited by extended stimulation (20 secs, 32 Hz) was resistant to CNQX/APV. Glycolysis was inhibited by removal of glucose and addition of 2-deoxyglucose (2DG) (10 mmol/L) or iodoacetic acid (IAA, 1 mmol/L). Pyruvate was provided as an alternative substrate for oxidative phosphorylation and the A1 receptor antagonist 1,3-Dipropyl-8-cyclopentylxanthine (DPCPX) included to prevent decreases in synaptic efficacy. If sufficient pyruvate was supplied, responses to brief and extended stimuli were unaffected by glycolytic inhibition and not significantly reduced by an inhibitor of glucose uptake (3-O-methyl glucose, 3 mmol/L). When timed to arrive at the peak of overshoots generated by extended synaptic stimulation, brief pyruvate applications (10 mmol/L, 2 mins) had little effect on evoked NAD(P)H increases. Flavoprotein autofluorescence transients after extended stimuli matched (with inverted sign) NAD(P)H responses. Responses to extended stimuli were not reduced by a nonselective inhibitor of glutamate uptake DL-Threo-beta-benzyloxyaspartic acid (TBOA). These results suggest that NAD(P)H transients report mitochondrial dynamics, rather than recruitment of glycolytic metabolism, over a wide range of stimulus intensities.

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