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Brain Res. 1993 Apr 30;610(1):69-74.

Swelling of glial cells in lactacidosis and by glutamate: significance of Cl(-)-transport.

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  • 1Institute for Surgical Research, Ludwig-Maximilians-University, München, FRG.


Swelling of glial and nerve cells is characteristic of brain damage in cerebral ischemia or trauma. The therapeutical efficiency of inhibition of Cl(-)-transport by a novel antagonist, the diuretic torasemide, on cytotoxic swelling of glial cells from lactacidosis, or glutamate was analyzed. Lactacidosis and the interstitial accumulation of glutamate are hallmarks of the pathophysiological alterations in ischemic or traumatic brain tissue. C6 glioma cells harvested from culture and suspended in a physiological medium were either exposed to pH 6.2, or 5.0 by lactic acid, or exposed to 1 mM glutamate at normal pH. Cell swelling and viability were quantified by flow cytometry. Lactacidosis of pH 6.2 led to an increase in cell volume to 117.9 +/- 0.7% within 60 min. Torasemide (1 mM) inhibited the swelling response by 50% (P < 0.01). Cell swelling at pH 5.0, although more severe, was again attenuated by torasemide (P < 0.01). No effect was seen on the decrease in cell viability at this level of acidosis. Addition of glutamate led to a steady increase in cell volume which, contrary to cell swelling from lactacidosis, was not inhibited by torasemide. Inhibition of cell swelling from acidosis by this diuretic may be attributed to blocking of Cl-/HCO3- exchange mechanisms activated by acidosis. The lack of effect by torasemide in glial cell swelling from glutamate indicates operation of a different mechanism inducing cell swelling, for example cellular accumulation of the amino acid together with Na+ and water.

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