The development of key enzyme activities concerned with glucose metabolism was studied in six regions of the rat brain in animals from just before birth (-2 days) through the neonatal and suckling period until adulthood (60 days old). The brain regions studied were the cerebellum, medulla oblongata and pons, hypothalamus, striatum, mid-brain and cortex. The enzymes whose developmental patterns were investigated were hexokinase (EC 2.7.1.1), aldolase (EC 4.1.2.13), lactate dehydrogenase (EC 1.1.1.27) and glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase (EC 1.1.1.49). Hexokinase, aldolase and lactate dehydrogenase activities develop as a single cluster in all the regions studied, although the timing of this development varies from region to region. Glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase activity, however, declines relative to glycolytic enzyme activity as the brain matures. When the different brain regions are compared, it is clear that the medulla develops its glycolytic potential, as indicated by its potential enzyme activity, considerably earlier than the other regions (hypothalamus, striatum and mid-brain), with the cortex and cerebellar activities developing even later. This enzyme developmental sequence correlates well with the neurophylogenetic development of the brain and adds support to the hypothesis that the development of the potential for glycolysis in the brain is a necessary prerequisite for the development of neurological competence.

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