Regional activities of metabolic enzymes and glutamate decarboxylase in human brain

Howard S. Maker, Cipora Weiss, Sulamith Weissbarth, Demetra J. Silides, William Whetsell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


Interpretation of biochemical measurements in the human brain after death is complicated by a variety of premortem, perimortem, and postmortem factors. The activity of glutamic acid decarboxylase (GAD) in particular has been found to vary considerably among human brains. In contrast to neurotransmitter‐associated enzymes, metabolic enzymes are present in all brain cells and should not be specifically lost by patterned neuronal cell loss such as that which occurs in Parkinson disease. We compared the activity of GAD to that of the metabolic enzymes creatine kinase (CK), adenylate kinase, hexokinase, β‐glucuronidase, and malate, lactate, glucose‐6‐phosphate, and isocitrate dehydrogenases in 24 regions of six human brains. Of the metabolic enzymes, only CK showed a 5‐fold variation approaching that of GAD. Like GAD, CK activity was stable postmortem, but its activity was apparently inversely related to the severity and duration of the preterminal illness. CK may be a useful marker of agonal deterioration.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)377-383
Number of pages7
JournalAnnals of Neurology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 1981
Externally publishedYes


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