Pyruvate recycling was studied in primary cultures of mouse cerebrocortical astrocytes, GABAergic cerebrocortical interneurons, and co-cultures consisting of both cell types by measuring production of [4-13C]glutamate from [3-13C]glutamate by aid of nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy. This change in the position of the label can only occur by entry of [3-13C]glutamate into the tricarboxylic acid (TCA) cycle, conversion of labeled α-ketoglutarate to malate or oxaloacetate, malic enzyme-mediated decarboxylation of malate to pyruvate or phosphoenolpyruvate carboxykinase-mediated conversion of oxaloacetate to phosphoenolpyruvate and subsequent hydrolysis of the latter to pyruvate, and introduction of the labeled pyruvate into the TCA cycle, i.e., after exit of the carbon skeleton of pyruvate from the TCA cycle followed by re-entry of the same pyruvate molecules via acetyl CoA. In agreement with earlier observations, pyruvate recycling was demonstrated in astrocytes, indicating the ability of these cells to undertake complete oxidative degradation of glutamate. The recycled [4-13C]glutamate was not further converted to glutamine, showing compartmentation of astrocytic metabolism. Thus, absence of recycling into glutamine in the brain in vivo cannot be taken as indication that pyruvate recycling is absent in astrocytes. No recycling could be demonstrated in the cerebrocortical neurons. This is consistent with a previously demonstrated lack of incorporation of label from glutamate into lactate, and it also indicates that mitochondrial malic enzyme is not operational. Nor was there any indication of pyruvate recycling in the co-cultures. Although this may partly be due to more rapid depletion of glutamate in the co-cultures, this observation at the very least indicates that pyruvate recycling is not up-regulated in the neuronal-astrocytic co-cultures.