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Publication Detail
Non-signalling energy use in the developing rat brain.
  • Publication Type:
    Journal article
  • Publication Sub Type:
  • Authors:
    Engl E, Jolivet R, Hall CN, Attwell D
  • Publication date:
  • Journal:
    Journal of cerebral blood flow and metabolism : official journal of the International Society of Cerebral Blood Flow and Metabolism
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  • Print ISSN:
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  • Addresses:
    Department of Neuroscience, Physiology & Pharmacology, University College London, London, UK.
Energy use in the brain constrains its information processing power, but only about half the brain's energy consumption is directly related to information processing. Evidence for which non-signalling processes consume the rest of the brain's energy has been scarce. For the first time, we investigated the energy use of the brain's main non-signalling tasks with a single method. After blocking each non-signalling process, we measured oxygen level changes in juvenile rat brain slices with an oxygen-sensing microelectrode and calculated changes in oxygen consumption throughout the slice using a modified diffusion equation. We found that the turnover of the actin and microtubule cytoskeleton, followed by lipid synthesis, are significant energy drains, contributing 25%, 22% and 18%, respectively, to the rate of oxygen consumption. In contrast, protein synthesis is energetically inexpensive. We assess how these estimates of energy expenditure relate to brain energy use in vivo, and how they might differ in the mature brain.
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