February 25, 2021

Systematic analysis of brain lactate and pH levels in 65 animal models related to neuropsychiatric conditions

Altered brain energy metabolism associated with increase in lactate levels and the resultant decrease in pH have been increasingly implicated in multiple neuropsychiatric disorders, such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, autism spectrum disorder and neurodegenerative disorders. Although it is controversial, change of pH/ lactate level as a primary feature of these diseases, rather than a result of confounding factors such as medication and agonal state, has been evidenced. Animal models that can be studied without such confounding factors inherent to humans are a suitable alternative to understand the controversy. However, the knowledge in animal models regarding brain pH and lactate and their relation to behavioral outcomes is limited in the context of neuropsychiatric disease conditions. In this study, we investigated the common occurrence of changes in the pH and lactate levels in the brain in animal models by analyzing 65 animal models related to neuropsychiatric and neurodegenerative diseases with 1,239 animals. Additionally, we evaluated the behavioral phenotypes relative to the chemical changes in the brain. Among the models, 27 had significant upregulation or downregulation in brain pH and 24, including Hivep2 KO, Camk2a KO, Nrgn KO, Ppp3r1 KO, Chd8 KO, Shank2 KO, Clock mutant, Fmr1 KO, BTBR, APP-J20 Tg, social defeat stress-exposed, corticosterone-treated, and streptozotocin-induced diabetic mice, demonstrated changes in lactate levels. Meta-analysis of the data revealed a highly significant negative correlation between brain pH and lactate levels, suggestive of increased lactate levels causing decreased brain pH. Statistical learning algorithm based on the comprehensive data has revealed that the increased brain lactate levels can be predominantly predicted by the indices for the percentage of correct response in working memory test, with a significant simple, negative correlation. Our results suggest that brain energy metabolism is commonly altered in many animal models of neuropsychiatric and neurodegenerative diseases, which may be associated with working memory performance. We consider our study to be an essential step suggesting that the brain endophenotypes serve as a basis for the transdiagnostic characterization of the biologically heterogeneous and debilitating cognitive illnesses. Based on these results, we are openly accepting collaborations to extend these findings and to test the hypotheses generated in this study using more animal models. We welcome any mice/rat models of diseases with or without any behavioral phenotypes.

 bioRxiv Subject Collection: Neuroscience

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