Energy allocation between brain and body during ontogenetic development

American Journal of Human Biology : the Official Journal of the Human Biology Council
Britta KuberaManfred J Müller


We here studied how energy is allocated between brain and body both during the ontogenetic development from a child to an adult and during weight loss. We investigated 180 normal weight female and male children and adolescents (aged 6.1-19.9 years) as well as 35 overweight adolescents undergoing weight reduction intervention. 52 normal weight and 42 obese adult women were used for comparison. We assessed brain mass by magnetic-resonance-imaging and body metabolism by indirect calorimetry. To study how energy is allocated between brain and body, we measured plasma insulin, since insulin fulfils the functions of a glucose allocating hormone, i.e., peripheral glucose uptake depends on insulin, central uptake does not. We used reference data obtained in the field of comparative biology. In a brain-body-plot, we calculated the distance between each subject and a reference mammal of comparable size and named the distance "encephalic measure." With higher encephalic measures, more energy is allocated to the brain. We found that ontogenetic development from a child to an adult was indicated by decreasing encephalic measures in females (r = -0.729, P < 0.001) and increasing plasma insulin concentrations (F = 6.6, P = 0.002 in females an...Continue Reading


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Related Concepts

Metabolic Process, Cellular
Adolescent Development
Energy Metabolism
Glucose Import
Metabolic Pathway
Infant Development

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