Real-time changes in hippocampal energy demands during a spatial working memory task

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Activity-dependent changes in hippocampal energy consumption have largely been determined using microdialysis. However, real-time recordings of brain energy consumption can be more accurately achieved using amperometric sensors, allowing for sensitive real-time monitoring of concentration changes. Here, we test the theory that systemic pre-treatment with glucose in rats prevents activity-dependent decreases in hippocampal glucose levels and thus enhances their performance in a spontaneous alternation task. Male Sprague Dawley rats were implanted into the hippocampus with either: 1) microdialysis probe; or 2) an oxygen sensor and glucose biosensor co-implanted together. Animals were pre-treated with either saline or glucose (250 mg/kg) 30 min prior to performing a single 20-min spontaneous alternation task in a +-maze. There were no significant differences found between either treatment group in terms of spontaneous alternation performance. Additionally, there was a significant difference found between treatment groups on hippocampal glucose levels measured using microdialysis (a decrease associated with glucose pre-treatment in control animals) but not amperometry. There were significant increases in hippocampal oxygen during +-maze exploration. Combining the findings from both methods, it appears that hippocampal activity in the spontaneous alternation task does not cause an increase in glucose consumption, despite an increase in regional cerebral blood flow (using oxygen supply as an index of blood flow) and, as such, pre-treatment with glucose does not enhance spontaneous alternation performance.

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