Understanding regulation of brain energy metabolism


  • Prof Alexander Gourine

    University College London, United Kingdom

Project summary

The high metabolic rate of the brain, associated with the activities of billions of nerve cells processing information, requires constant and optimal nutrient and oxygen supply, as well as effective elimination of metabolic waste products. There is growing evidence that reduction in the blood flow to the brain, resulting in impaired delivery of metabolic substrates, damages nerve cells and the connections between them, leading to cognitive decline, and the development of neurodegenerative disease, such as Alzheimer?s disease. We will examine fundamental biological processes that ensure nutritional support of nerve cell activity, effective elimination of CO2 as a major brain waste product, and the mechanisms activated in conditions of metabolic emergency, such as when oxygen supply to the brain is reduced. This research will contribute to our understanding of how the computational machinery of the brain is fuelled and protected from deleterious accumulation of carbon dioxide and/or reductions in oxygen supply.