Pyruvate recycling is a pathway for complete oxidation of glutamate. The cellular location and the physiological significance of such recycling has been debated during the last decade. The present study was aimed at elucidating whether recycling takes place in neuron-enriched cultures of dissociated cerebella, consisting mainly of glutamatergic granule cells, some GABAergic neurons, and few astrocytes. These cultures and cultures of astrocytes from cerebellum were incubated in medium containing [U-13C]glutamate, and cell extracts were analyzed by gas chromatography and mass spectrometry. Additionally, in the case of the neuron-enriched cultures, a magnetic resonance (MR) spectrum was obtained. It could be shown that the atom percentage excess of the isotopomer representing pyruvate recycling in glutamate (M + 4) was similar for astrocytes and neuron-enriched cultures. However, the latter showed more recycling in glutamine (synthesized in the small fraction of astrocytes) than the pure astrocyte cultures, whereas the reverse was the case for aspartate. In fact, the atom percentage excess of the isotopomer representing pyruvate recycling in glutamine was slightly but significantly higher than that in glutamate in the neuron-enriched cultures. It can be concluded that pyruvate recycling is clearly present in neurons, and this was verified by MR spectroscopy. © 2007 Wiley-Liss, Inc.