CBBM Lecture "The role of monocarboxylate transporters in neuron-astrocyte interactions" by

Luc Pellerin,

Department of Physiology, University of Lausanne, Switzerland and Centre de Résonance Magnétique des Systèmes Biologiques, UMR5536 CNRS, Labex TRAIL-IBIO, Université de Bordeaux, France


will take place on Tuesday, September 10, 2019 from 17:15 to 18:15 hours in CBBM Building, Ground Floor, Seminar Room B1/B2.

Host: Prof. Dr. Olaf Jöhren
Center of Brain, Behavior and Metabolism
University of Lübeck


Astrocytes couple synaptic activity to glucose utilization. The concept, known as the Astrocyte-Neuron Lactate Shuttle model, has received over the years extensive experimental and theoretical support. An important aspect of this model is the net transfer of lactate from astrocytes to neurons as an additional energy substrate to sustain neuronal activity. Such a transfer requires specific transporters known as monocarboxylate transporters (MCTs). Three isoforms, MCT1, MCT2 and MCT4, are expressed in the central nervous system with a cell-specific distribution. MCT1 is expressed by glial cells, endothelial cells as well as some populations of neurons. MCT2 is the predominant neuronal monocarboxylate transporter. MCT4 is exclusively  expressed by astrocytes.  MCT2 expression is regulated translationally in neurons and is modulated notably by noradrenaline, insulin and BDNF. MCT4 expression is regulated transcriptionally in astrocytes by nitric oxide (NO) and oxygen levels via a HIF-dependent mechanism. These transporters have been shown to be essential for maintaining basal synaptic transmission and might play key roles in learning and memory processes as it will be presented. Moreover, they are required to obtain some signals used to perform functional brain imaging.


After obtaining a BSc degree (1985) in biochemistry at Université Laval in Quebec city, Luc Pellerin completed a PhD degree (1991) with a thesis in the laboratory of Leonhard S. Wolfe at the Montreal Neurological Institute on signal transduction in the central nervous system. Then, he performed postdoctoral studies in the laboratory of Pierre J. Magistretti on neuron-glia metabolic interactions at the Department of Physiology, University of Lausanne, Switzerland. Since 2008, he is associate professor and group leader of the laboratory of neuroenergetics in the same Department. His main research interest is about the role of monocarboxylates (lactate, ketone bodies) and their transporters in brain and body energy homeostasis.