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J Neural Transm Suppl. 1997;50:153-64.

Assessment of neurotoxicity and "neuroprotection".

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  • 1Department of Biochemistry, Trinity College, Dublin, Ireland.


Coronal brain slices allow the study of neurotoxicity and "neuroprotection" under conditions where the differentiation-state and interrelationships of the neurones and glial cells are closer to those occurring in the intact tissue than is the case for co-cultured cell systems. The involvement of glial cells in the excitotoxicity of kainate and the potentiation of this toxicity by inhibition of glutamine synthase can be demonstrated. Longer-term toxicity of kainate may also be compounded by depletion of glutathione levels resulting from inhibition of gamma-glutamylcysteine synthase. The involvement of nitric oxide formation in the toxicity of N-methyl-D-aspartate can also be shown. The neurotoxicity of 1-methyl-4-phenylpyridinium can be readily demonstrated in coronal slice preparations. Taurine affords protection against this neurotoxicity. The possible mechanisms of these effects are considered in terms of the cyclic interrelationships between the different events which can lead to cell death.

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