Swelling-induced release of glutamate, aspartate, and taurine from astrocyte cultures

H. K. Kimelberg, S. K. Goderie, S. Higman, S. Pang, R. A. Waniewski

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594 Scopus citations


Swelling of primary astrocyte cultures by exposing them to hypotonic media caused release of label after the cells had been allowed to accumulate 3H-L-glutamate, 3H-D-aspartate, or 3H-taurine. Comparable release of endogenous L-glutamate or taurine, as measured by high-pressure liquid chromatography (HPLC), was also found. Release of label was not affected by treating the cells with cytochalasin B, indicating that microfilament polymerization was not significantly involved. Hypotonic-induced release did not appear to principally involve reversal of the Na+-dependent uptake system since increasing external K+ to depolarize the cells by replacement of external Na+, thus maintaining isotonic conditions, increased release to a lesser extent. Threo betahydroxyaspartate, a potent 3H-L-glutamate uptake blocker, added externally stimulated efflux of 3H-L-gIutamate independently of the swelling-induced efflux. Upon restoration of swollen cells to isotonic medium they showed an unimpaired ability to take up 3H-L-glutamate. The swelling-induced release of label was inhibited by a number of anion transport inhibitors, one of which has been shown to significantly improve outcome in an experimental brain trauma/ hypoxia model in which astrocyte swelling is an early event.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1583-1591
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Neuroscience
Issue number5
StatePublished - 1990
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)


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