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Sugar-burning in the adult human brain is associated with continued growth, and remodeling
Date:1/7/2014

eased during childhood and accounts for as much as one third of total brain glucose consumption at its peak around 5 years of age, which is also the peak of synapse development.

Since aerobic glycolysis varies by region of the brain, Hawrylycz and co-author Marcus Raichle, Ph.D., at Washington University in St. Louis, wondered whether regions of the brain with higher levels of aerobic glycolysis might be associated with equivalent growth processes, like synapse formation. If so, this would point to aerobic glycolysis as a reflection of "neoteny," or persistent brain development like the kind that takes place during early childhood.

In order to delve into the significance of aerobic glycolysis, researchers examined the genes expressed at high levels in those regions where aerobic glycolysis was taking place. The team identified 16 regions of the brain with elevated levels of aerobic glycolysis and ranked their neotenous characteristics. True to prediction, they found that gene expression data from those 16 regions suggested highly neotenous behavior.

The next phase was to identify which genes were specifically correlated with aerobic glycolysis in those regions. The Allen Brain Atlas resources proved crucial in this task, helping to pinpoint gene expression in different regions at various points in development. The Allen Human Brain Atlas was used to investigate the adult human brain, while the BrainSpan Atlas of the Developing Human Brain, developed by a consortium of partners and funded by the National Institutes of Health, provided a window into how gene expression changes as the brain ages.

Analysis of the roles of those genes pointed clearly towards their roles in growth and development; top genes included those responsible for axon guidance, potassium ion channel development, synaptic transmission and plasticity, and many more. The consistent theme was development, pointing to aerobic glycolysis as a hallmark for neotenou
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Contact: Steven Cooper
Steven.Cooper@edelman.com
646-358-2765
Edelman Public Relations
Source:Eurekalert

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