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Neurochem Int. 1995 Aug;27(2):185-93.

In vivo studies on NMDA-evoked release of amino acids in the rat spinal cord.

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Department of Clinical Neuroscience and Family Medicine, Karolinska Institutet, Huddinge, Sweden.


In the present study, spontaneous and evoked release of selected amino acids in the rat spinal cord was studied using in vivo microdialysis. Perfusion of the microdialysis probe with 100 K+ evoked a 2-4-fold increase in release of the putative neurotransmitters aspartate, glutamate and taurine while glutamine was decreased. K(+)-evoked release of glutamate was almost completely Ca(2+)-dependent while that of aspartate was partially Ca(2+)-dependent. Taurine release was not affected by substituting Ca2+ with Co2+. Perfusion with 5 mM N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) evoked 3-9-fold release of glutamate, glycine and taurine and a small increase in extracellular beta-alanine. No significant changes in glutamine and serine were found. 5 mM of the competitive NMDA antagonist 3-((+/-)-2-carboxypiperazin-4-yl)propyl-1-phosphonic acid (CPP) reduced NMDA-evoked release of glutamate and taurine by approx. 50%. 5 mM 3-amino-1-hydroxypyrrolid-2-one (HA-966), an agonist at the glycine site of the NMDA receptor with very low efficacy, completely inhibited NMDA-evoked release of taurine and reduced the levels of released glutamate below baseline, similar to the effect of 1 mM CPP alone. The present results show that in situations of excessive release of excitatory amino acids such as spinal ischemia and trauma. NMDA receptor-evoked release of glutamate may amplify the deleterious process and spread the damage.

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