Glycogen metabolism has important implications for the functioning of the brain, especially the cooperation between astrocytes and neurons. According to various research data, in a glycogen deficiency (for example during hypoglycemia) glycogen supplies are used to generate lactate, which is then transported to neighboring
neurons. Likewise, during periods of intense activity of the nervous system, when the energy demand exceeds supply, astrocyte glycogen is immediately converted to lactate, some of which is transported to the neurons. Thus, glycogen from astrocytes functions as a kind of protection against hypoglycemia, ensuring preservation of
neuronal function. The neuro protective effect of lactate during hypoglycemia or cerebral ischemia has been reported in literature. This review goes on to emphasize that while neurons and astrocytes differ in metabolic profile, they interact to form a common metabolic cooperation.
Lactate concentration is reduced in the cerebral cortex in type 2 diabetes, in connection with the inhibition of glycogen degradation. Lower amounts of lactate are also due to the presence of a glycogen phosphorylase inhibitor. Glycolysis is activated in the presence of a glycogen phosphorylase inhibitor.
Keywords: astrocytes, brain, glucose, glycogen, neurons, lactate dehydrogenase, piruvate kinase.
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