The role of astrocytic glycogen in supporting the energetics of neuronal activity

Mauro DiNuzzo, Silvia Mangia, Bruno Maraviglia, Federico Giove

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Energy homeostasis in the brain is maintained by oxidative metabolism of glucose, primarily to fulfil the energy demand associated with ionic movements in neurons and astrocytes. In this contribution we review the experimental evidence that grounds a specific role of glycogen metabolism in supporting the functional energetic needs of astrocytes during the removal of extracellular potassium. Based on theoretical considerations, we further discuss the hypothesis that the mobilization of glycogen in astrocytes serves the purpose to enhance the availability of glucose for neuronal glycolytic and oxidative metabolism at the onset of stimulation. Finally, we provide an evolutionary perspective for explaining the selection of glycogen as carbohydrate reserve in the energy-sensing machinery of cell metabolism.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2432-2438
Number of pages7
JournalNeurochemical Research
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2012


  • Astrocytes
  • Brain glycogen
  • Neurometabolic coupling
  • Neurons
  • Potassium

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience
  • Biochemistry


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