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J Neurochem. 2011 Apr;117(2):231-43. doi: 10.1111/j.1471-4159.2011.07194.x. Epub 2011 Mar 1.

Cytosolic zinc release and clearance in hippocampal neurons exposed to glutamate--the role of pH and sodium.

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Department of Psychiatry, The Psychiatric Institute, The University of Illinois at Chicago, Chicago, Illinois 60612, USA.


Although Zn(2+) homeostasis in neurons is tightly regulated and its destabilization has been linked to a number of pathologies including Alzheimer's disease and ischemic neuronal death, the primary mechanisms affecting intracellular Zn(2+) concentration ([Zn(2+) ](i)) in neurons exposed to excitotoxic stimuli remain poorly understood. The present work addressed these mechanisms in cultured hippocampal neurons exposed to glutamate and glycine (Glu/Gly). [Zn(2+)](i) and intracellular Ca(2+) concentration were monitored simultaneously using FluoZin-3 and Fura-2FF, and intracellular pH (pH(i)) was studied in parallel experiments using 2',7'-bis-(2-carboxyethyl)-5(6)-carboxyfluorescein. Glu/Gly applications under Na(+)-free conditions (Na(+) substituted with N-methyl-D-glucamine(+)) caused Ca(2+) influx, pH(i) drop, and Zn(2+) release from intracellular stores. Experimental maneuvers resulting in a pH(i) increase during Glu/Gly applications, such as stimulation of Na(+) -dependent pathways of H(+) efflux, forcing H(+) efflux via gramicidin-formed channels, or increasing extracellular pH counteracted [Zn(2+)](i) elevations. In the absence of Na(+), the rate of [Zn(2+)](i) decrease could be correlated with the rate of pH(i) increase. In the presence of Na(+), the rate of [Zn(2+) ](i) decrease was about twice as fast as expected from the rate of pH(i) elevation. The data suggest that Glu/Gly-induced cytosolic acidification promotes [Zn(2+) ](i) elevations and that Na(+) counteracts the latter by promoting pH(i)-dependent and pH(i)-independent mechanisms of cytosolic Zn(2+) clearance.

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