Brain energy and metabolism

Pierre J. Magistretti*, Igor Allaman

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

3 Scopus citations


All the processes described in this textbook require energy. Ample clinical evidence indicates that the brain is exquisitely sensitive to perturbations of energy metabolism. This chapter, adapted from Magistretti PJ (2008) Brain energy metabolism. In: Squire LR, Berg D, Bloom FE, du Lac S, Ghosh A, Spitzer NC (eds) Fundamental neuroscience. Academic, San Diego, pp 271-293, covers the topics of energy delivery, production, and utilization by the brain. Careful consideration of the basic mechanisms of brain energy metabolism is an essential prerequisite to a full understanding of the physiology and pathophysiology of brain function. Abnormalities in brain energy metabolism are observed in a variety of pathological conditions such as neurodegenerative diseases, stroke, epilepsy, and migraine. The chapter reviews the features of brain energy metabolism at the global, regional, and cellular levels and extensively describes recent advances in the understanding of neuroglial metabolic cooperation. A particular focus is the cellular and molecular mechanisms that tightly couple neuronal activity to energy consumption. This tight coupling is at the basis of functional brain-imaging techniques, such as positron emission tomography (PET) and functional magnetic resonance imaging.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationNeuroscience in the 21st Century
Subtitle of host publicationFrom Basic to Clinical, Second Edition
PublisherSpringer New York
Number of pages31
ISBN (Electronic)9781493934744
ISBN (Print)9781493934737
StatePublished - Jan 1 2016


  • Astrocyte-neuron metabolic unit
  • Blood flow
  • Brain
  • Brain energy metabolism
  • Cell-specific glucose uptake and metabolism
  • Glial cells
  • Glucose
  • Glucose metabolism
  • Glucose transporters (GLUTs)
  • Glutamate
  • Glutamate-stimulated uptake
  • Glycogen
  • Glycogen metabolism
  • Glycolysis
  • Ketone bodies
  • Lactate
  • Lactate and pyruvate serve
  • Neurotransmitters
  • Pentose phosphate pathway
  • Tight coupling
  • Tricarboxylic acid cycle
  • Vascular endothelial cells

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine
  • General Neuroscience
  • General Agricultural and Biological Sciences


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