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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Circulatory and metabolic effects of glycerol infusion in patients with recent cerebral infarction.

The effect of intravenous infusion of 10 per cent glycerol on regional cerebral blood flow (using hydrogen bolus and Xenon-133 (133Xe) clearance methods) and metabolism was investigated in 57 patients with recent cerebral infarction. Hemispheric blood flow (HBF) increased, together with increase in regional cerebral blood flow (rCBF) and cerebral blood volume (rCBV), in foci of brain ischemia. Hemispheric oxygen consumption (HMIO2) decreased together with hemispheric respiratory quotient. Systemic blood levels of glucose, lactate, pyruvate, and triglycerides also increased after glycerol while free fatty acids (FFA) and inorganic phosphate (Pi) decreased. Hemispheric glucose consumption was unaltered after glycerol so that hemispheric glucose to oxygen ratio tended to rise. Pyruvate and lactate production by brain was unchanged. Glycerol moved across the blood brain barrier into brain and cerebrospinal fluid (CSF). Release of FFA and Pi from infarcted brain was reversed by glycerol. Total phosphate balance was maintained actoss brain both before and after glycerol infusion. Triglycerides increased in CSF after glycerol, originating either from cerebral blood or as a result of lipogenesis in cerebral tissue. The EEG Recording and neurological status of the patients improved despite decreased brain oxygen consumption. Results of this study suggest that after intravenous infusion of 10 per cent glycerol in patients with recent cerebral infarction, glycerol rapidly enters the CSF and brain compartments and favorably affects the stroke process in two ways: first, by redistribution of cerebral blood flow with increase in rCBF and rCBV in ischemic brain secondary to reduction in focal cerebral edema; and second glycerol may become an alternative source of energy either by being directly metabolized by the brain, or indirectly, by enhancing lipogenesis, or by both processes. Involvement of glycerol in lipogenesis with esterification to accumulated FFA might lead to improved coupling of oxidative phosphorylation, a hypothesis that fits the finding of improved neuronal function despite further decrease in cerebral hemispheric oxygen consumption.[1]


  1. Circulatory and metabolic effects of glycerol infusion in patients with recent cerebral infarction. Meyer, J.S., Itoh, Y., Okamoto, S., Welch, K.M., Mathew, N.T., Ott, E.O., Sakaki, S., Miyakawa, Y., Chabi, E., Ericsson, A.D. Circulation (1975) [Pubmed]
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