Study finds almost all metabolites differ between brain regions or age groups, but not by sex. A shift in sphingolipid patterns during #aging is accompanied by large changes in other #metabolic pathways.
The mammalian brain relies on neurochemistry to fulfill its functions. Yet, the complexity of the brain metabolome and its changes during diseases or aging remain poorly understood. Here, we generate a metabolome atlas of the aging wildtype mouse brain from 10 anatomical regions spanning from adolescence to old age. We combine data from three assays and structurally annotate 1,547 metabolites. Almost all metabolites significantly differ between brain regions or age groups, but not by sex. A shift in sphingolipid patterns during aging related to myelin remodeling is accompanied by large changes in other metabolic pathways. Functionally related brain regions (brain stem, cerebrum and cerebellum) are also metabolically similar. In cerebrum, metabolic correlations markedly weaken between adolescence and adulthood, whereas at old age, cross-region correlation patterns reflect decreased brain segregation. We show that metabolic changes can be mapped to existing gene and protein brain atlases. The brain metabolome atlas is publicly available (https://mouse.atlas.metabolomics.us/) and serves as a foundation dataset for future metabolomic studies.
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