A Comparison of Oxidative Lactate Metabolism in Traumatically Injured Brain and Control Brain.

17 Jul 2018

Metabolic abnormalities occur after traumatic brain injury (TBI). Glucose is conventionally regarded as the major energy substrate, although lactate can also be an energy source. We compared 3-13C lactate metabolism in TBI with "normal" control brain and muscle, measuring 13C-glutamine enrichment to assess tricarboxylic acid (TCA) cycle metabolism. Microdialysis catheters in brains of nine patients with severe TBI, five non-TBI brain surgical patients, and five resting muscle (non-TBI) patients were perfused (24 h in brain, 8 h in muscle) with 8 mmol/L sodium 3-13C lactate. Microdialysate analysis employed ISCUS and nuclear magnetic resonance. In TBI, with 3-13C lactate perfusion, microdialysate glucose concentration increased nonsignificantly (mean +11.9%, p = 0.463), with significant increases (p = 0.028) for lactate (+174%), pyruvate (+35.8%), and lactate/pyruvate ratio (+101.8%). Microdialysate 13C-glutamine fractional enrichments (median, interquartile range) were: for C4 5.1 (0-11.1) % in TBI and 5.7 (4.6-6.8) % in control brain, for C3 0 (0-5.0) % in TBI and 0 (0-0) % in control brain, and for C2 2.9 (0-5.7) % in TBI and 1.8 (0-3.4) % in control brain. 13C-enrichments were not statistically different between TBI and control brain, showing both metabolize 3-13C lactate via TCA cycle, in contrast to muscle. Several patients with TBI exhibited 13C-glutamine enrichment above the non-TBI control range, suggesting lactate oxidative metabolism as a TBI "emergency option."