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NH4+ triggers the release of astrocytic lactate via mitochondrial pyruvate shunting


Lerchundi, Rodrigo; Fernández-Moncada, Ignacio; Contreras-Baeza, Yasna; Sotelo-Hitschfeld, Tamara; Mächler, Philipp; Wyss, Matthias T; Stobart, Jillian; Baeza-Lehnert, Felipe; Alegría, Karin; Weber, Bruno; Barros, L Felipe (2015). NH4+ triggers the release of astrocytic lactate via mitochondrial pyruvate shunting. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 112(35):11090-11095.

Abstract

Neural activity is accompanied by a transient mismatch between local glucose and oxygen metabolism, a phenomenon of physiological and pathophysiological importance termed aerobic glycolysis. Previous studies have proposed glutamate and K(+) as the neuronal signals that trigger aerobic glycolysis in astrocytes. Here we used a panel of genetically encoded FRET sensors in vitro and in vivo to investigate the participation of NH4(+), a by-product of catabolism that is also released by active neurons. Astrocytes in mixed cortical cultures responded to physiological levels of NH4(+) with an acute rise in cytosolic lactate followed by lactate release into the extracellular space, as detected by a lactate-sniffer. An acute increase in astrocytic lactate was also observed in acute hippocampal slices exposed to NH4(+) and in the somatosensory cortex of anesthetized mice in response to i.v. NH4(+). Unexpectedly, NH4(+) had no effect on astrocytic glucose consumption. Parallel measurements showed simultaneous cytosolic pyruvate accumulation and NADH depletion, suggesting the involvement of mitochondria. An inhibitor-stop technique confirmed a strong inhibition of mitochondrial pyruvate uptake that can be explained by mitochondrial matrix acidification. These results show that physiological NH4(+) diverts the flux of pyruvate from mitochondria to lactate production and release. Considering that NH4(+) is produced stoichiometrically with glutamate during excitatory neurotransmission, we propose that NH4(+) behaves as an intercellular signal and that pyruvate shunting contributes to aerobic lactate production by astrocytes.

Abstract

Neural activity is accompanied by a transient mismatch between local glucose and oxygen metabolism, a phenomenon of physiological and pathophysiological importance termed aerobic glycolysis. Previous studies have proposed glutamate and K(+) as the neuronal signals that trigger aerobic glycolysis in astrocytes. Here we used a panel of genetically encoded FRET sensors in vitro and in vivo to investigate the participation of NH4(+), a by-product of catabolism that is also released by active neurons. Astrocytes in mixed cortical cultures responded to physiological levels of NH4(+) with an acute rise in cytosolic lactate followed by lactate release into the extracellular space, as detected by a lactate-sniffer. An acute increase in astrocytic lactate was also observed in acute hippocampal slices exposed to NH4(+) and in the somatosensory cortex of anesthetized mice in response to i.v. NH4(+). Unexpectedly, NH4(+) had no effect on astrocytic glucose consumption. Parallel measurements showed simultaneous cytosolic pyruvate accumulation and NADH depletion, suggesting the involvement of mitochondria. An inhibitor-stop technique confirmed a strong inhibition of mitochondrial pyruvate uptake that can be explained by mitochondrial matrix acidification. These results show that physiological NH4(+) diverts the flux of pyruvate from mitochondria to lactate production and release. Considering that NH4(+) is produced stoichiometrically with glutamate during excitatory neurotransmission, we propose that NH4(+) behaves as an intercellular signal and that pyruvate shunting contributes to aerobic lactate production by astrocytes.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:04 Faculty of Medicine > Institute of Pharmacology and Toxicology
Dewey Decimal Classification:570 Life sciences; biology
610 Medicine & health
Uncontrolled Keywords:FLII12Pglu700μΔ6; laconic; mitoSypHer; peredox; pyronic
Language:English
Date:2015
Deposited On:29 Feb 2016 15:26
Last Modified:05 Apr 2016 20:10
Publisher:National Academy of Sciences
ISSN:0027-8424
Free access at:Publisher DOI. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1508259112
PubMed ID:26286989

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