Glucose-deprived brain cell cultures have a markedly reduced sulfatide synthesis (SfS). As SfS is glucose dependent, galactose (gal) was studied to delineate its role as a substitute for glucose (glu). SfS is a mandatory step in the formation of myelin. Gal is necessary to form cerebroside which is converted to sulfatide by incorporation of sulfate. Neonatal mouse brains were dissociated and cultured for 10 days. Cell cultures were then kept for another 3 days in media containing either glu or gal alone or combined. SfS of cultures continued at glu 26.1 mM served as control (100%). Gal alone at any concentration (1.3-26.3 mM) was unable to replace glu, SfS remained severely depressed (1.5 to 2.9%). At high qlu levels above 12.6 mM addition of gal did not influence SfS, thus excluding a toxic effect. At glu 7.5 mM which left cultures glu-deprived below 0.2 mM for at least 1 day, SfS fell to 35.9±10.6% (SD). Under this condition, SfS could be raised to 52.9±13.5% when gal 0.6 mM was added or even to 67.9±15.6% with gal 12.2 mM (p less than 0.05, resp. 0.001). Therefore, gal may not be necessary for SfS in glu-replenished states. Under glu-deprivation, however, gal could become essential for maintaining structural brain metabolism measured as SfS.
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Schwarz, H., Zuppinger, K., Schaefer, T. et al. Galactose enhances sulfatide synthesis in glucose-deprived cultured mouse brain cells: 71. Pediatr Res 14, 176–177 (1980). https://doi.org/10.1203/00006450-198002000-00098