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Biochem Int. 1983 Nov;7(5):617-27.

On the stimulation by insulin of tryptophan transport across the blood-brain barrier.


Following previous studies showing that in vivo insulin administration increases brain tryptophan levels, we have tested the effect of insulin on tryptophan uptake by isolated bovine brain capillaries, which represent the in vitro equivalent of the blood-brain barrier. In the presence of insulin and Na+ ions, the uptake of 14C-labelled tryptophan was significantly increased with respect to controls, this increase being essentially due to a higher affinity of the transport system for the amino acid, while the Vmax was not affected. Insulin increased also, to a similar extent, the uptake of alpha-methylaminoisobutyrate in the presence of Na+ ions, while the uptake of beta-aminobicyclo(2.2.1)heptane carboxylic acid was not affected. Addition of phloretine, or of anti-insulin antibodies, as well as omission of Na+ ions from the buffer abolished the effect of insulin. Insulin appears therefore to increase specifically the substrate affinity of the A-system for neutral amino acid transport, without exerting any influence on the L-system. The absence of the A-system from the luminal side of the microvessels, and the high insulin concentrations needed, raise however some problems as to the physiological significance of this effect.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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