Figure 3 Schematic illustration of how astrocytic glycogen appears to fuel axons in the absence of glucose. Blood glucose first encounters astrocytic end feet as it is transported into the brain. In the absence of glucose, astrocytic glycogen is broken down into lactate, which is transported to the extracellular space via a monocarboxylate transporter (MCT). It is then taken up by a MCT in axons and is oxidatively metabolized to produce the energy needed to sustain excitability. LDH5 preferentially reduces pyruvate to lactate, whereas LDH1 preferentially oxidizes lactate to pyruvate. This scheme recognizes that astrocytes can subsist, at least transiently, on glycolytic energy metabolism, whereas axons require oxidative metabolism.

\LDH 1 Pyruvate

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