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Am J Physiol. 1997 Jul;273(1 Pt 2):R359-63.

Vitamin B12 enhances GABA content but reduces glutamate content in the rat suprachiasmatic nucleus.

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Institute for Medical and Dental Engineering, Tokyo Medical and Dental University, Japan.


The present study attempted to elucidate effects of vitamin B12 (VB12) on the rat suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN), which is the locus of the circadian clock in mammals, by evaluating the contents of its major neurotransmitters, gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) and glutamate (Glu). First, contents of these amino acids were analyzed from tissue samples prepared at three different circadian times (CTs) in free-running rats under constant dim illumination. The content of GABA was highest in the middle of the resting phase (CT 6), intermediate early in the active phase (CT 14), and lowest late in the active phase (CT 20), whereas Glu content indicated inverse circadian variations. Subsequently, effects of intracerebroventricularly infused VB12 were assayed at CT 20. Compared with the saline-infused control, the infusion of VB12 (30 nmol/30 microliters) at CT 12-15 significantly increased GABA content but decreased Glu content. The quantitative balance of these amino acids after VB12 infusion was similar to that at CT 6 in noninfused rats. These results suggest that infusion of VB12 to active rats shifts the ratio of SCN neurotransmitters toward that observed in resting rats.

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