Send to

Choose Destination
Neuroscientist. 2017 Aug;23(4):356-363. doi: 10.1177/1073858416672622. Epub 2016 Oct 5.

Glycogen: Multiple Roles in the CNS.

Author information

1 School of Life Sciences, University of Nottingham, Nottingham, UK.
2 Department of Neurology, School of Medicine, University of Washington, Seattle, WA, USA.


The historically neurocentric view of astrocytes as Styrofoam cushioning that rigidly clad neurons within the brain parenchyma has been superseded in the past 30 years by an increasing appreciation of the myriad roles astrocytes contribute to supporting physiological brain function. It is widely recognized that the continuous support provided by astrocytes, from prenatal development to maturity, is vital for neuronal function. Indeed, the numerous and diverse roles furnished by astrocytes contrasts with the vital but restricted transmission of action potentials that is the neuron's primary role. An emerging role for astrocytes is that of providing energy substrate in the form of glycogen-derived lactate to neurons. This role was established during periods of limited glucose availability but has been extended to encompass one of the most important physiological brain functions, learning and memory. In this context glycogen metabolism is integral to the consolidation of learning into long-term retention of memories, a process vital to the higher functioning of the human brain.


astrocyte; lactate; learning; long-term potentiation; memory


Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Atypon
Loading ...
Support Center