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Effects of Antimycin, Glucose Deprivation, and Serum on Cultures of Neurons, Astrocytes, and Neuroblastoma Cells


Address correspondence and reprint requests to Dr. Petrus J. Pauwels at his present address: Department of Biochemical Pharmacology 26.35, Janssen Pharmaceutica, Turnhoutseweg 30, B-2340 Beerse, Belgium.


The resistance of cultured mouse neuroblastoma cells, primary cultures of rat cerebellar neurons, and rat brain astrocytes to a block of aerobic metabolism was studied. Parameters such as lactate production and ATP content were measured in the presence of antimycin A and under various conditions of glucose, oxygen, and serum supply. The following conclusions can be drawn: (1) All cell types studied were characterized by an active production of lactate; (2) Incubation of the various cell types in the absence of glucose at normal oxygen tension did not affect ATP levels; (3) Respiration blocked by antimycin led to a Pasteur effect; (4) Neuroblastoma cells, but not the other cell types, were fully resistant to inhibition of respiration provided that sufficient glucose was supplied; (5) In the absence of glucose no stores of energy or utilizable substrate were present in the cell types studied when respiration was blocked; (6) In the presence of fetal calf serum anoxic neurons showed irreversible signs of degeneration.