Regional distribution of astrocytes with intense immunoreactivity for glutamate dehydrogenase in rat brain: implications for neuron-glia interactions in glutamate transmission.

C. Aoki, T. A. Milner, K. F. Sheu, J. P. Blass, V. M. Pickel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

The principally mitochondrial enzyme glutamate dehydrogenase (GDH) exhibited low-intensity, uniform immunoreactivity in neurons and intense heterogeneous labeling of glial cells of rat brain. Simultaneous peroxidase labeling for GDH and immunoautoradiography for glial fibrillary acidic protein (GFAP) confirmed the astrocytic localization of the enzyme. Immunoreactivity in astrocytes, but not in neurons, required the presence of Triton X-100 as a solubilizing agent. Most of the intensely labeled glial processes were localized to regions previously reported as containing moderate to high densities of binding sites for the excitatory amino acids, L-glutamate or L-aspartate, and glutamatergic fibers. These included several forebrain regions, such as the superficial layers of the rostral neocortex, dorsal neostriatum, nucleus accumbens, septohippocampal nucleus, intralaminar thalamic nuclei, and external capsules. However, the central gray of the midbrain, the nuclei of the reticular formation, brain stem regions projecting to the cerebellum, and cranial nuclei of the trigeminal and vagal nerves also exhibited intense glial labeling for GDH, even though some of these regions are known to receive only weak glutamatergic projections. A second factor determining the distribution of GDH appeared to be neuronal activity, as assessed by correspondence with reported high densities of cytochrome oxidase. We conclude that GDH enriched in glial populations exists in a subcellular compartment distinct from that of neurons and may serve as one of the enzymes involved in glutamatergic transmission. Deficiencies of glial GDH and the consequent cytotoxic effects of high levels of excitatory amino acids may contribute to a number of neurodegenerative disorders.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2214-2231
Number of pages18
JournalThe Journal of neuroscience : the official journal of the Society for Neuroscience
Volume7
Issue number7
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 1987

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)

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