The metabolic overdrive hypothesis: hyperglycolysis and glutaminolysis in bipolar mania

Iain H Campbell*, Harry Campbell

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

Evidence from diverse areas of research including chronobiology, metabolomics and magnetic resonance spectroscopy indicate that energy dysregulation is a central feature of bipolar disorder pathophysiology. In this paper, we propose that mania represents a condition of heightened cerebral energy metabolism facilitated by hyperglycolysis and glutaminolysis. When oxidative glucose metabolism becomes impaired in the brain, neurons can utilize glutamate as an alternative substrate to generate energy through oxidative phosphorylation. Glycolysis in astrocytes fuels the formation of denovo glutamate, which can be used as a mitochondrial fuel source in neurons via transamination to alpha-ketoglutarate and subsequent reductive carboxylation to replenish tricarboxylic acid cycle intermediates. Upregulation of glycolysis and glutaminolysis in this manner causes the brain to enter a state of heightened metabolism and excitatory activity which we propose to underlie the subjective experience of mania. Under normal conditions, this mechanism serves an adaptive function to transiently upregulate brain metabolism in response to acute energy demand. However, when recruited in the long term to counteract impaired oxidative metabolism it may become a pathological process. In this article, we develop these ideas in detail, present supporting evidence and propose this as a novel avenue of investigation to understand the biological basis for mania.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages7
JournalMolecular Psychiatry
Early online date25 Jan 2024
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 25 Jan 2024


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