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Metabolism and maturation in the developing brain

  • Derek Richter
Chapter

Abstract

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.

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Copyright information

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

Authors and Affiliations

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

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