Effects of hypercapnia / ischemia and dissection on the rat brain metabolome

Duncan A. Sylvestre, Yurika Otoki, Adam H. Metherel, Richard P. Bazinet, Carolyn M. Slupsky, Ameer Y. Taha

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


It is known that brain energy metabolites such as ATP are quickly depleted during postmortem ischemia; however, a comprehensive assessment on the effects of preceding hypercapnia/ischemia and the dissection process on the larger brain metabolome remains lacking. This study sought to address this unknown by measuring aqueous metabolites impacted by hypercapnia/ischemia and brain dissection using Nuclear Magnetic Resonance. Metabolites were measured in rats subjected to 1) high energy head-focused microwave irradiation (control group); 2) CO2–induced hypercapnia/ischemia followed by immediate microwave irradiation; 3) CO2 followed by decapitation and then microwave irradiation ∼6.4 min later, to simulate a postmortem interval equivalent to typical dissection times; and 4) CO2–induced hypercapnia/ischemia followed by dissection within ∼6 min (no microwave fixation) to test the effects of brain dissection on the metabolome. Compared to control rats subjected to head-focused microwave irradiation, concentrations of high-energy phosphate metabolites and glucose were significantly reduced, while β-hydroxybutyrate and lactate were increased in rats subjected to all other treatments. Several amino acids and neurotransmitters (GABA) increased by hypercapnia/ischemia and dissection. Sugar donors involved in glycosylation decreased and nucleotides decreased or increased following hypercapnia/ischemia and dissection. sn-Glycero-3-phosphocholine decreased and its choline byproduct increased in all groups relative to controls, indicating postmortem changes in lipid turnover. Antioxidants increased following hypercapnia/ischemia but decreased to control levels following dissection. This study demonstrates substantial post-mortem changes in brain energy and glycosylation pathways, as well as protein, nucleotide, neurotransmitter, lipid, and antioxidant turnover due to hypercapnia/ischemia and dissection. Changes in phosphate donors, glycosylation and amino acids reflect post-translational modification and protein degradation processes that persist post-mortem. Microwave irradiation is necessary for accurately capturing in vivo brain metabolite concentrations.

Original languageEnglish
Article number105294
JournalNeurochemistry International
Publication statusPublished - 2022 Jun


  • Dissection
  • Irradiation
  • Ischemia
  • Metabolomics
  • Microwave fixation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience
  • Cell Biology


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