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Glutamate receptor subunit expression in primary enteric glia cultures.

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  • 1Department of Medicine I (Gastroenterology), University of Ulm, Ulm, Germany.


Excitotoxicity, which is mediated via glutamate receptors, is also a phenomenon of the enteric nervous system. Whether enteric glial cells (EGCs), which resemble astrocytes of the central nervous system, express glutamate receptors and hence are involved in gut excitotoxicity is not yet known. To investigate glutamate receptor subunit expression in EGCs, primary EGC cultures of the myenteric plexus were analyzed by real-time PCR and Western blotting. These studies indeed showed that in EGC cultures, mRNA of the glutamate receptor subunits NR1, NR2A/B, GluR1, GluR3, and GluR5 and the protein bands of the glutamate receptor subunits NR2A/B, GluR1, GluR3, and GluR5 could be detected. Thus, in the enteric nervous system, glutamate receptor subunits are also expressed by EGCs, indicating that these cells might be involved in gut excitotoxicity.

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