Lactate Is a Preferential Oxidative Energy Substrate over Glucose for Neurons in Culture

Anne Karine Bouzier-Sore*, Pierre Voisin, Paul Canioni, Pierre J. Magistretti, Luc Pellerin

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

257 Scopus citations


The authors investigated concomitant lactate and glucose metabolism in primary neuronal cultures using 13C-and 1H-NMR spectroscopy. Neurons were incubated in a medium containing either [1- 13C]glucose and different unlabeled lactate concentrations, or unlabeled glucose and different [3-13C]lactate concentrations. Overall, 13C-NMR spectra of cellular extracts showed that more 13C was incorporated into glutamate when lactate was the enriched substrate. Glutamate 13C-enrichment was also found to be much higher in lactate-labeled than in glucose-labeled conditions. When glucose and lactate concentrations were identical (5.5 mmol/L), relative contributions of glucose and lactate to neuronal oxidative metabolism amounted to 21% and 79%, respectively. Results clearly indicate that when neurons are in the presence of both glucose and lactate, they preferentially use lactate as their main oxidative substrate.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1298-1306
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Cerebral Blood Flow and Metabolism
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 2003
Externally publishedYes


  • Brain
  • Energy metabolism
  • Glutamate
  • Monocarboxylate
  • NMR spectroscopy
  • TCA cycle

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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