Acetate transport and utilization in the rat brain

Dinesh K Deelchand, Alexander A. Shestov, Dee M. Koski, Kamil Ugurbil, Pierre-Gilles Henry

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77 Scopus citations


Acetate, a glial-specific substrate, is an attractive alternative to glucose for the study of neuronal-glial interactions. The present study investigates the kinetics of acetate uptake and utilization in the rat brain in vivo during infusion of [2-13C]acetate using NMR spectroscopy. When plasma acetate concentration was increased, the rate of brain acetate utilization (CMRace) increased progressively and reached close to saturation for plasma acetate concentration > 2-3 mM, whereas brain acetate concentration continued to increase. The Michaelis-Menten constant for brain acetate utilization (= 0.01 ± 0.14 mM) was much smaller than for acetate transport through the blood-brain barrier (BBB) (= 4.18 ± 0.83 mM). The maximum transport capacity of acetate through the BBB (= 0.96 ± 0.18 μmol/g/min) was nearly twofold higher than the maximum rate of brain acetate utilization (= 0.50 ± 0.08 μmol/g/min). We conclude that, under our experimental conditions, brain acetate utilization is saturated when plasma acetate concentrations increase above 2-3 mM. At such high plasma acetate concentration, the rate-limiting step for glial acetate metabolism is not the BBB, but occurs after entry of acetate into the brain.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)46-54
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Neurochemistry
Issue numberSUPPL. 1
StatePublished - May 2009


  • Acetate
  • Brain
  • C
  • LCModel
  • NMR spectroscopy
  • Transport

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