Indexed on: 22 Dec '07Published on: 22 Dec '07Published in: Neuroscience and Behavioral Physiology
The redox potential (E) is a useful measure of the intensity and quality of shifts in energy metabolism. Brain E depends on the ratio of the rates of processes occurred in two compartments of energy metabolism - the glycolysis compartment, in which glucose is split without oxygen, and the oxidative metabolism compartment. The present report describes recording of local changes in E using platinum electrodes implanted into several points in the cortex. In these conditions, decreases in E correspond to local increases in the rates of glycolytic processes in the tissue surrounding the electrode and are related to mitochondrial processes, while increases in E correspond to local acceleration of processes in oxidative metabolism in the tissues around the electrode. Our previous studies in rats showed that during episodes of slow-wave sleep (SWS), metabolically active points of the rat cerebral cortex show significant decreases in E, and it was suggested that these are associated with increases in the rate of glycolysis. At the same time, E showed characteristic oscillations lasting 20-40 sec with amplitudes of tens of millivolts. The experiments reported here demonstrated that slow oscillations in E developing during SWS are created by regular episodes of ECoG arousal occurring during SWS, accompanied by startling of the animal, decreases in E, and inhibition of respiration. We suggest that a homeostasis system operates during SWS to maintain the animal's level of consciousness at a particular level and that this, like any system with feedback, operates in an oscillatory fashion. The role of glycolysis in supplying energy to the cerebral cortex to support the elevated level of consciousness increases.