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J Agric Food Chem. 2011 Aug 10;59(15):8458-66. doi: 10.1021/jf201637u. Epub 2011 Jul 13.

Luteolin inhibits the release of glutamate in rat cerebrocortical nerve terminals.

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Department of Anesthesiology, Far-Eastern Memorial Hospital, Pan-Chiao District, New Taipei City, Taiwan.


The present study investigated the effect and possible mechanism of luteolin, a food-derived flavonoid, on endogenous glutamate release in nerve terminals of rat cerebral cortex (synaptosomes). Luteolin inhibited the release of glutamate evoked by the K(+) channel blocker 4-aminopyridine (4-AP), and this phenomenon was concentration-dependent. The effect of luteolin on the evoked glutamate release was prevented by the chelation of the extracellular Ca(2+) ions and by the vesicular transporter inhibitor, but was insensitive to the glutamate transporter inhibitor. Luteolin decreased the 4-AP-induced increase in [Ca(2+)](C), whereas it did not alter 4-AP-mediated depolarization. Furthermore, the effect of luteolin on evoked glutamate release was abolished by blocking the Ca(v)2.2 (N-type) and Ca(v)2.1 (P/Q-type) channels, but not by blocking the ryanodine receptors or the mitochondrial Na(+)/Ca(2+) exchange. In addition, the inhibitory effect of luteolin on evoked glutamate release was prevented by the mitogen-activated/extracellular signal-regulated kinase (MEK) inhibitors. Western blot analyses showed that luteolin decreased the 4-AP-induced phosphorylation of extracellular signal-regulated kinase 1 and 2 (ERK1/2) and synapsin I, the main presynaptic target of ERK. Thus, it was concluded that luteolin inhibits glutamate release from rat cortical synaptosomes through the suppression of presynaptic voltage-dependent Ca(2+) entry and MEK/ERK signaling cascade.

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