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Glia. 2000 Oct;32(1):1-14.

Astrocyte glutamate transport: review of properties, regulation, and physiological functions.

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  • 1Department of Neurology, University of California, San Francisco, California, USA.


Rapid removal of glutamate from the extracellular space is required for the survival and normal function of neurons. Although glutamate transporters are expressed by all CNS cell types, astrocytes are the cell type primarily responsible for glutamate uptake. Astrocyte glutamate uptake also plays a role in regulating the activity of glutamatergic synapses. Lastly, release of glutamate from astrocytes, via transporter reversal and other routes, can contribute to glutamate receptor activation. This review examines the mechanisms of astrocyte glutamate uptake and release, with particular focus on high-affinity Na(+)-dependent transporters. Transporter regulation, energetics, and physiological roles are discussed.

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