Metabolism and maturation in the developing brain

  • Derek Richter


During foetal life the brain is undergoing rapid growth, and its metabolism is characterized mainly by the high activity of the enzymes concerned in synthesizing the proteins and lipoproteins which together make up some 90 % of the dry weight of the tissue. The brain is needed by the organism at an early stage of development as a controlling-centre for the vegetative functions of the body: its growth therefore proceeds ahead of most of the other organs, and in the chick embryo of 5 days the brain accounts for as much as 30% of the total body weight. Protein formation in the 23-day embryo, as indicated by the incorporation of glycine labelled with radioactive 14C., is about twice as fast in brain as in liver tissue (11). This relatively high rate of protein synthesis in the brain gradually recedes, and in the adult the rate of amino acid incorporation in isolated brain tissue is intermediate between that of heart muscle and of the visceral organs of the body.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. (1).
    Andjus, R. K., and A. V. Smith: J. Physiol. 123, 66 (1954).Google Scholar
  2. (2).
    Block, R. J.: J. biol. Chem. 120, 467 (1937).Google Scholar
  3. (3).
    Brattgârd, S. O.: Acta, radiol. (Stockh.) Suppl. 96, 1 (1952).Google Scholar
  4. (4).
    Clouet, D. H., and M. K. Gaitonde: J. Neurochem. 1, 126 (1956).PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. (5).
    Clouet, D. H. and D. Richter: J.Neurochem. 3, 219(1958).Google Scholar
  6. (6).
    Cohn, P., M. K. Gaitonde and D. Richter: J. Physiol. 126, 7 (1954).Google Scholar
  7. (7).
    Cohn, P., and D. Richter: J. Neurochem. 1, 166 (1956).PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. (8).
    Gaitonde, M. K., and D. Richter: Proc. roy. Soc. B 145, 83 (1956).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. (9).
    Geiger, A.: Metabolism of the nervous system. Edited by D. Richter. London: Pergamon Press. London: 1957.Google Scholar
  10. (10).
    Gordon, M. W.: Neurochemistry. Edited by S. R. Korey and J. I. Nurnberger: London: Cassell & Co. 1956.Google Scholar
  11. (11).
    Greenberg, D. M., F. Friedberg, M. D. Schulman and T. Winnick: Cold Spring Harb. Symp. quant. Biol. 13, 113 (1948).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. (12).
    Hamburg, M., and L. B. Flexner: J. Neurochem. 1, 279 (1958).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. (13).
    Himwich, H.: Brain metabolism and cerebral disorders. Baltimore: Williams and Wilkins 1951.Google Scholar
  14. (14).
    Kety, S. S.: Metabolism of the nervous system. Edited by D. Richter. London: Pergamon Press 1957.Google Scholar
  15. (15).
    Kiota, K.: Psychiat. Neurol. Jap. 58, 191 (1956).Google Scholar
  16. (16).
    Lowry, O. L., N. R. Roberts, K. Y. Leiner, M. Wit, A. L. Fan and R. W. Albens: J. biol. Chem. 207, 39 (1954).PubMedGoogle Scholar
  17. (17).
    Mullins, L. J.: Amer. J. Physiol. 175, 358 (1951).Google Scholar
  18. (18).
    Neil, J., and J. Shull: Human heredity. Chicago Press, Ill. 1952.Google Scholar
  19. (19).
    Peters, V. B., and L. B. Flexner: Amer. J. Anat. 86, 133 (1950).PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. (20).
    Reiss, J. M., M. Reiss and A. Wyatt: Proc. Soc. exp. Biol. N. Y. 93, 19 (1956).Google Scholar
  21. (21).
    Richter, D.: Biochemistry of the developing nervous system. Edited by H. Waelsch. New York: Academic Press 1956.Google Scholar
  22. (22).
    Richter, D.: Metabolism of the brain. Edited by F. Brücke. London: Pergamon Press 1959.Google Scholar
  23. (23).
    Rose, W. C., J. E. Johnson and W. Haines: J. biol. Chem. 182, 541 (1950).Google Scholar
  24. (24).
    Schneider, M.: Metabolism of the nervous system. Edited by D. Richter. London: Pergamon Press 1957.Google Scholar
  25. (25).
    Schreier, K., E. Zöller and G. Harmann: Ärztl. Forsch. 11, 552 (1957).Google Scholar
  26. (26).
    Solomon, J. B.: Proc. IV. Internat. Congress for Biochemistry, Vienna. Sect. 6, 27 (1958).Google Scholar
  27. (27).
    Winzler, R. J., K. Moldave, M. E. Rafelson and H. E. Pearson: J. biol. Chem. 199, 485 (1952).PubMedGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag oHG. Berlin · Göttingen · Heidelberg 1959

Authors and Affiliations

  • Derek Richter
    • 1
  1. 1.Neuropsychiatric Research UnitWhitchurch HospitalCardiffEngland

Personalised recommendations