A Cellular Perspective on Brain Energy Metabolism and Functional Imaging

Pierre J. Magistretti, Igor Allaman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

786 Scopus citations


The energy demands of the brain are high: they account for at least 20% of the body's energy consumption. Evolutionary studies indicate that the emergence of higher cognitive functions in humans is associated with an increased glucose utilization and expression of energy metabolism genes. Functional brain imaging techniques such as fMRI and PET, which are widely used in human neuroscience studies, detect signals that monitor energy delivery and use in register with neuronal activity. Recent technological advances in metabolic studies with cellular resolution have afforded decisive insights into the understanding of the cellular and molecular bases of the coupling between neuronal activity and energy metabolism and pointat a key role of neuron-astrocyte metabolic interactions. This article reviews some of the most salient features emerging from recent studies and aims at providing an integration of brain energy metabolism across resolution scales. © 2015 Elsevier Inc.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)883-901
Number of pages19
Issue number4
StatePublished - May 2015

Bibliographical note

KAUST Repository Item: Exported on 2020-10-01
Acknowledgements: Research on brain energy metabolism in P.J.M.'s laboratory has been supported over the years by the Swiss National Science Foundation and by the University of Lausanne, EPFL, CHUV, the NCCR Synapsy, the Biaggi and Panacee foundations, and KAUST. The authors wish to thank Ivan Gromiko and Heno Hwang for their support in drawing figures and Virginia Unkefer for editorial review, all of the academic writing services at KAUST. For the section on evolution, the authors are grateful to Dr. Alain Prochiantz for pointing out some key references and to Dr. Patrick Hof for critical reading.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Neuroscience


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