Direct Measurement of Extracellular Lactate in the Human Hippocampus During Spontaneous Seizures

Matthew J. During, Itzhak Fried, Paola Leone, Amiram Katz, Dennis D. Spencer

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Abstract: The effect of clinical, spontaneous‐onset seizures on extracellular fluid lactate was investigated by the method of lactography, the in vivo on‐line measurement of lactate levels using microdialysis. Studies of experimental animals have suggested that generation of extracellular lactate as measured by microdialysis is an index of local glucose utilization and is dependent on the activity of neurons under physiological conditions. Patients with medically refractory complex partial epilepsy underwent stereo‐tactic implantation of combination depth electrode/micro‐dialysis probes into both hippocampi for 7–16 days. During spontaneous complex partial seizures with secondary generalization, extracellular lactate levels rose by 91 β 32%. Moreover, this increase persisted for 60–90 min. During a unilateral hippocampal seizure that did not propagate to the contralateral hippocampus, the increase in lactate content was restricted to the side of seizure activity. Between seizures, extracellular lactate levels correlated with the frequency of interictal spikes. In summary, these data suggest that brief clinical seizures increase nonoxidative glucose metabolism significantly as measured by the generation of extracellular lactate. Furthermore, the increase in extracellular lactate level is limited to the site of seizure activity. Lactate is transported extracellularly via a lactate/proton cotransporter; therefore, the rise in extracellular lactate level may mediate the drop in pHo associated with seizure activity. As acidification of the extracellular compartment has an inhibitory effect on neuronal excitability, the rise in extracellular lactate content may be a mechanism of seizure arrest and postictal refractoriness. Moreover, extracellular lactate may also mediate the decreased seizure susceptibility associated with frequent interictal spikes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2356-2361
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Neurochemistry
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 1994
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biochemistry
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience


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