Expression of the glutamate transporter GLT-1 in neurons has been shown to be important for synaptic mitochondrial function in the cerebral cortex. Here we determined whether neuronal GLT-1 plays a similar role in the hippocampus and striatum, using conditional GLT-1 knockout mice in which GLT-1 was inactivated in neurons by expression of synapsin-Cre (synGLT-1 KO). Ex vivo 13C-labelling using [1,2-13C]acetate, representing astrocytic metabolism, yielded increased [4,5-13C]glutamate levels, suggesting increased astrocyte-neuron glutamine transfer, in the striatum but not in the hippocampus of the synGLT-1 KO. Moreover, aspartate concentrations were reduced − 38% compared to controls in the hippocampus and the striatum of the synGLT-1 KO. Mitochondria isolated from the hippocampus of synGLT-1 KO mice exhibited a lower oxygen consumption rate in the presence of oligomycin A, indicative of a decreased proton leak across the mitochondrial membrane, whereas the ATP production rate was unchanged. Electron microscopy revealed reduced mitochondrial inter-cristae distance within excitatory synaptic terminals in the hippocampus and striatum of the synGLT-1 KO. Finally, dilution of 13C-labelling originating from [U-13C]glucose, caused by metabolism of unlabelled glutamate, was reduced in hippocampal synGLT-1 KO synaptosomes, suggesting that neuronal GLT-1 provides glutamate for synaptic tricarboxylic acid cycle metabolism. Collectively, these data demonstrate an important role of neuronal expression of GLT-1 in synaptic mitochondrial metabolism in the forebrain.
- Brain energy metabolism
- TCA cycle
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience