The ratio of acetate-to-glucose oxidation in astrocytes from a single 13C NMR spectrum of cerebral cortex

Isaac Marin-Valencia, M. Ali Hooshyar, Kumar Pichumani, A. Dean Sherry, Craig R. Malloy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


The 13C-labeling patterns in glutamate and glutamine from brain tissue are quite different after infusion of a mixture of 13C-enriched glucose and acetate. Two processes contribute to this observation, oxidation of acetate by astrocytes but not neurons, and preferential incorporation of α-ketoglutarate into glutamate in neurons, and incorporation of α-ketoglutarate into glutamine in astrocytes. The acetate:glucose ratio, introduced previously for analysis of a single 13C NMR spectrum, provides a useful index of acetate and glucose oxidation in the brain tissue. However, quantitation of relative substrate oxidation at the cell compartment level has not been reported. A simple mathematical method is presented to quantify the ratio of acetate-to-glucose oxidation in astrocytes, based on the standard assumption that neurons do not oxidize acetate. Mice were infused with [1,2-13C]acetate and [1,6-13C]glucose, and proton decoupled 13C NMR spectra of cortex extracts were acquired. A fit of those spectra to the model indicated that 13C-labeled acetate and glucose contributed approximately equally to acetyl-CoA (0.96) in astrocytes. As this method relies on a single 13C NMR spectrum, it can be readily applied to multiple physiologic and pathologic conditions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)99-109
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Neurochemistry
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • acetate
  • glia
  • glucose
  • neuron


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