Energy metabolism in the rat cortex under thiopental anaesthesia measured In Vivo by (13) C MRS

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Barbiturates, commonly used as general anaesthetics, depress neuronal activity and thus cerebral metabolism. Moreover, they are likely to disrupt the metabolic support of astrocytes to neurons, as well as the uptake of nutrients from circulation. By employing (13) C magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS) in vivo at high magnetic field, we characterized neuronal and astrocytic pathways of energy metabolism in the rat cortex under thiopental anaesthesia. The neuronal tricarboxylic acid (TCA) cycle rate was 0.46 ± 0.02 µmol/g/min, and the rate of the glutamate-glutamine cycle was 0.09 ± 0.02 µmol/g/min. In astrocytes, the TCA cycle rate was 0.16 ± 0.02 µmol/g/min, accounting for a quarter of whole brain glucose oxidation, pyruvate carboxylase rate was 0.02 ± 0.01 µmol/g/min, and glutamine synthetase was 0.12 ± 0.01 µmol/g/min. Relative to previous experiments under light α-chloralose anaesthesia, thiopental reduced oxidative metabolism in neurons and even more so in astrocytes. Interestingly, total oxidative metabolism in the cortex under thiopental anaesthesia surpassed the rate of pyruvate production by glycolysis, indicating substantial utilisation of substrates other than glucose, likely plasma lactate. © 2017 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.


External organisations
  • Swiss Federal Institute of Technology
Research areas and keywords


  • Journal Article
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2297-2306
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Neuroscience Research
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 2017 Nov
Publication categoryResearch
Externally publishedYes