Lactate Metabolism, Signaling, and Function in Brain Development, Synaptic Plasticity, Angiogenesis, and Neurodegenerative Diseases

Abstract: Neural tissue requires a great metabolic demand despite negligible intrinsic energy stores. As a result, the central nervous system (CNS) depends upon a continuous influx of metabolic substrates from the blood. Disruption of this process can lead to impairment of neurological functions, loss of consciousness, and coma within minutes. Intricate neurovascular networks permit both spatially and temporally appropriate metabolic substrate delivery. Lactate is the end product of anaerobic or aerobic glycolysis, converted from pyruvate by lactate dehydrogenase-5 (LDH-5). Although abundant in the brain, it was traditionally considered a byproduct or waste of glycolysis. However, recent evidence indicates lactate may be an important energy source as well as a metabolic signaling molecule for the brain and astrocytes—the most abundant glial cell—playing a crucial role in energy delivery, storage, production, and utilization. The astrocyte–neuron lactate-shuttle hypothesis states that lactate, once released into the extracellular space by astrocytes, can be up-taken and metabolized by neurons. This review focuses on this hypothesis, highlighting lactate’s emerging role in the brain, with particular emphasis on its role during development, synaptic plasticity, angiogenesis, and disease.

Anika Wu, Daehoon Lee, Wen-Cheng Xiong 

Xiong Lab

International Journal of Molecular Sciences. August 29, 2023 

Lactate Metabolism, Signaling, and Function in Brain Development, Synaptic Plas…