Distribution of radiolabeled l-glutamate and d-aspartate from blood into peripheral tissues in naive rats: Significance for brain neuroprotection Academic Article uri icon


  • Excess l -glutamate (glutamate) levels in brain interstitial and cerebrospinal fluids (ISF and CSF, respectively) are the hallmark of several neurodegenerative conditions such as stroke, traumatic brain injury or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. Its removal could prevent the glutamate excitotoxicity that causes long-lasting neurological deficits. As in previous studies, we have established the role of blood glutamate levels in brain neuroprotection, we have now investigated the contribution of the peripheral organs to the homeostasis of glutamate in blood. We have administered naive rats with intravenous injections of either l -[1- 14 C] Glutamic acid ( l -[1- 14 C] Glu), l -[G- 3 H] Glutamic acid ( l -[G- 3 H] Glu) or d -[2,3- 3 H] Aspartic acid ( d -[2,3- 3 H] Asp), a non-metabolized analog of glutamate, and have followed their distribution into peripheral organs. We have observed that the decay of the radioactivity associated with l -[1- 14 C] Glu and l -[G- 3 H] Glu was faster than that associated with glutamate non-metabolized analog, d -[2,3- 3 H] Asp. l -[1- 14 C] Glu was subjected in blood to a rapid decarboxylation with the loss of 14 CO 2 . The three major sequestrating organs, serving as depots for the eliminated glutamate and/or its metabolites were skeletal muscle, liver and gut, contributing together 92% or 87% of total l -[U- 14 C] Glu or d -[2,3- 3 H] Asp radioactivity capture. l -[U- 14 C] Glu and d -[2,3- 3 H] Asp showed a different organ sequestration pattern. We conclude that glutamate is rapidly eliminated from the blood into peripheral tissues, mainly in non-metabolized form. The liver plays a central role in glutamate metabolism and serves as an origin for glutamate metabolites that redistribute into skeletal muscle and gut. The findings of this study suggest now that pharmacological manipulations that reduce the liver glutamate release rate or cause a boosting of the skeletal muscle glutamate pumping rate are likely to cause brain neuroprotection.

publication date

  • January 1, 2010