Metabolic Heterogeneity of Cerebral Cortical and Cerebellar Astrocytes

Yuanhong Sun, Ali Winters, Linshu Wang, Kiran Chaudhari, Raymond Berry, Christina Tang, Ran Liu, Shaohua Yang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Astrocytes play critical roles in regulating neuronal synaptogenesis, maintaining blood–brain barrier integrity, and recycling neurotransmitters. Increasing numbers of studies have suggested astrocyte heterogeneity in morphology, gene profile, and function. However, metabolic phenotype of astrocytes in different brain regions have not been explored. In this paper, we investigated the metabolic signature of cortical and cerebellar astrocytes using primary astrocyte cultures. We observed that cortical astrocytes were larger than cerebellar astrocytes, whereas cerebellar astrocytes had more and longer processes than cortical astrocytes. Using a Seahorse extracellular flux analyzer, we demonstrated that cortical astrocytes had higher mitochondrial respiration and glycolysis than cerebellar astrocytes. Cerebellar astrocytes have lower spare capacity of mitochondrial respiration and glycolysis as compared with cortical astrocytes. Consistently, cortical astrocytes have higher mitochondrial oxidation and glycolysis-derived ATP content than cerebellar astrocytes. In addition, cerebellar astrocytes have a fuel preference for glutamine and fatty acid, whereas cortical astrocytes were more dependent on glucose to meet energy demands. Our study indicated that cortical and cerebellar astrocytes display distinct metabolic phenotypes. Future studies on astrocyte metabolic heterogeneity and brain function in aging and neurodegeneration may lead to better understanding of the role of astrocyte in brain aging and neurodegenerative disorders.

Original languageEnglish
Article number184
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2023


  • astrocytes
  • cerebellum
  • cortex
  • glycolysis rate
  • heterogeneity
  • metabolism
  • mitochondrial respiration


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