The influence of phenobarbital (PhB) on the utilization of glucose by the cerebral cortex and the cerebellum was studied in rats during postnatal development. The animals were treated from day 2 to day 35 after birth by a daily injection of 50 mg/kg PhB or by saline. The rats were studied at 5 postnatal stages: 7, 10, 14, 21 and 35 days. PhB treatment induced a 10% decrease in body and brain weight over the whole period studied and a transient significant decrease in circulating thyroxin levels at 14 days after birth. Amino acid levels in the cerebral cortex and particularly in the cerebellum were not greatly affected by the pharmacological treatment. The conversion of [2-14C]glucose into amino acids was significantly decreased in both cerebral structures between day 7 and day 14 after birth. The distribution of radioactivity between amino acids was not affected in the cerebral cortex but was significantly changed by PhB treatment in the cerebellum. Specific radioactivity values of amino acids were lower in PhB- than in saline-treated animals in both studied structures. The results of the present study show that glucose utilization is reduced in the brain of PhB treated animals as compared to the controls and that the cerebellum seems to be more affected than the cerebral cortex. © 1987.
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