Neuronal cell death induced by mechanical percussion trauma in cultured neurons is not preceded by alterations in glucose, lactate and glutamine metabolism

A. R. Jayakumar, L. K. Bak, K. V. Rama Rao, H. S. Waagepetersen, A. Schousboe, M. D. Norenberg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is a devastating neurological disorder that usually presents in acute and chronic forms. Brain edema and associated increased intracranial pressure in the early phase following TBI are major consequences of acute trauma. On the other hand, neuronal injury, leading to neurobehavioral and cognitive impairments, that usually develop months to years after single or repetitive episodes of head trauma, are major consequences of chronic TBI. The molecular mechanisms responsible for TBI-induced injury, however, are unclear. Recent studies have suggested that early mitochondrial dysfunction and subsequent energy failure play a role in the pathogenesis of TBI. We therefore examined whether oxidative metabolism of 13C-labeled glucose, lactate or glutamine is altered early following in vitro mechanical percussion-induced trauma (5 atm) to neurons (4–24 h), and whether such events contribute to the development of neuronal injury. Cell viability was assayed using the release of the cytoplasmic enzyme lactate dehydrogenase (LDH), together with fluorescence-based cell staining (calcein and ethidium homodimer-1 for live and dead cells, respectively). Trauma had no effect on the LDH release in neurons from 1 to 18 h. However, a significant increase in LDH release was detected at 24 h after trauma. Similar findings were identified when traumatized neurons were stained with fluorescent markers. Additionally 13C-labeling of glutamate showed a small, but statistically significant decrease at 14 h after trauma. However, trauma had no effect on the cycling ratio of the TCA cycle at any timeperiod examined. These findings indicate that trauma does not cause a disturbance in oxidative metabolism of any of the substrates used for neurons. Accordingly, such metabolic disturbance does not appear to contribute to the neuronal death in the early stages following trauma.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)307-315
Number of pages9
JournalNeurochemical Research
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - Jan 4 2016
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biochemistry
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience


  • Cell death
  • GC–MS
  • Neuron
  • Oxidative metabolism
  • Traumatic brain injury


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