Tumor necrosis factor-α and interleukin-1α enhance glucose utilization by astrocytes: Involvement of phospholipase A2

Naichen Yu*, Dominique Maciejewski-Lenoir, Floyd E. Bloom, Pierre J. Magistretti

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

49 Scopus citations


Cytokines can be produced within the nervous system by various cell types, including astrocytes, which secrete them in response to pathological processes such as viral infections. Astrocytes are known to play an important role in the homeostasis of the nervous system, in particular, by contributing to the regulation of local energy metabolism. We report that tumor necrosis factor-α (TNF-α) and interleukin-1α (IL-1α) markedly stimulate glucose uptake and phosphorylation in primary cultures of neonatal murine astrocytes, as determined with [3H]-2-deoxyglucose ([3H]2DG). This effect is both concentration dependent, with observed EC50 values of 8 ng/ml for TNF-α and 30 pg/ml for IL-1α, and time dependent, with a maximal response observed 24 hr after cytokine application. The effects of TNF-α and IL-1α on glucose uptake and phosphorylation appear to be mediated by the phospholipase A2 signal transduction pathway. Evidence in support of this includes (i) inhibition by mepacrine, a phospholipase A2 inhibitor, of [3H]2DG uptake evoked by TNF-α and IL-1α, and (ii) stimulation of [3H]arachidonic acid release by TNF-α and IL-1α. Protein kinase C activation does not appear to be involved as the specific protein kinase C inhibitor Ro 31-7549 does not abolish TNF-α- or IL-1α-induced increase in [3H]2DG uptake and phosphorylation. The additional glucose imported by astrocytes on exposure to TNF-α and IL-1α is neither stored as glycogen nor released as glycolytically derived lactate, suggesting that it is processed through the tricarboxylic acid cycle or pentose phosphate pathway. These results demonstrate that TNF-α and IL-1α can fundamentally perturb the energy metabolism of astrocytes, possibly impairing their ability to provide adequate energy substrates for neurons.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)550-558
Number of pages9
JournalMolecular Pharmacology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 1995
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Medicine
  • Pharmacology


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