Metabolic differences between primary cultures of astrocytes and neurons from cerebellum and cerebral cortex. Effects of fluorocitrate

Neurochem Res. 1995 Apr;20(4):413-20. doi: 10.1007/BF00973096.


Astrocytes and neurons cultured from mouse cerebellum and cerebral cortex were analyzed with respect to content and synthesis of amino acids as well as export of metabolites to the culture medium and the response to fluorocitrate, an inhibitor of aconitase. The intracellular levels of amino acids were similar in the two astrocytic populations. The release of citrate, lactate and glutamine, however, was markedly higher from cerebellar than from cortical astrocytes. Neurons contained higher levels of glutamate, aspartate and GABA than astrocytic cultures. Cortical neurons were especially high in GABA and aspartate, and the level of aspartate increased specifically when the extracellular level of glutamine was elevated. Fluorocitrate inhibited the TCA cycle in the astrocytes, but was less effective in cerebellar neurons. Whereas neurons responded to fluorocitrate with an increase in the formation of lactate, reflecting glycolysis, astrocytes decreased the formation of lactate in the presence of fluorocitrate, indicating that astrocytes to a high degree synthesize pyruvate and hence lactate from TCA cycle intermediates.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acids / metabolism
  • Animals
  • Astrocytes / drug effects*
  • Astrocytes / metabolism
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Cerebellum / cytology
  • Cerebellum / drug effects*
  • Cerebellum / metabolism
  • Cerebral Cortex / cytology
  • Cerebral Cortex / drug effects*
  • Cerebral Cortex / metabolism
  • Citrates / metabolism
  • Citrates / pharmacology*
  • Citric Acid
  • Culture Media
  • Lactates / metabolism
  • Lactic Acid
  • Mice
  • Neurons / drug effects*
  • Neurons / metabolism


  • Amino Acids
  • Citrates
  • Culture Media
  • Lactates
  • Citric Acid
  • Lactic Acid
  • fluorocitrate