The aerobic brain: Lactate decrease at the onset of neural activity

S. Mangia, G. Garreffa, M. Bianciardi, F. Giove, F. Di Salle, B. Maraviglia

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The metabolic events of neuronal energetics during functional activity are still partially unexplained. In particular, lactate (and not glucose) was recently proposed as the main substrate for neurons during activity [Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 91 (1994) 10625]. By means of proton magnetic resonance spectroscopy, lactate was reported to increase during the first minutes of prolonged stimulation [Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 88 (1991) 5829; J Cereb Blood Flow Metab 12 (1992) 584; Magn Reson Med 35 (1996) 143], but the studies reported thus far suffered from low temporal resolution. In the present study we used a time-resolved proton magnetic resonance spectroscopy strategy in order to analyse the evolution of lactate during the early seconds following a brief visual stimulation (event-related design). A significant decrease in lactate concentration was observed 5 s after the stimulation, while a recovering of the baseline was observed at 12 s.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)7-10
Number of pages4
Issue number1
StatePublished - Apr 25 2003


  • Functional neuronal metabolism
  • Glia
  • Single-voxel NMR spectroscopy


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