Transmitter self-regulation by extracellular glutamate in fresh human cortical slices

Katharina Prauss*, Ramya Varatharajan, Kevin Joseph, Andreas Moser

*Corresponding author for this work
1 Citation (Scopus)


Glutamate is thought to be the most important excitatory neurotransmitter in the CNS, while glutamine predominantly serves as a precursor and metabolite in the glutamate–glutamine cycle. To verify the interaction between intrinsic extracellular glutamate, y-aminobutyric acid (GABA) levels and glial glutamine outflow in human tissue, fresh brain slices fromhuman frontal cortex were incubated in superfusion chambers in vitro. Human neocortical tissue was obtained during surgical treatment of subcortical brain tumors. For superfusion experiments, the white matter was separated and discarded from the gray matter, which finally contained all six neocortical layers. Outflows of endogenous glutamate, GABA and glutamine were established after a 40-min washout period and amounts were simultaneously quantified after two-phase derivatization by high-performance liquid chromatography with electrochemical detection. Under basal conditions, amounts of glutamate could be found 20-fold in comparison to the inhibitory neurotransmitter GABA, whereas this excitatory predominance markedly declined after veratridine-induced activation. The basal glutamate: glutamine ratio of extracellular levels was approximately 1:2. Blockade or activation of the voltage-gated sodium channel by tetrodotoxin or veratridine significantly modulated glutamate levels, but the glutamate:glutamine ratio was nearly constantwith 1:2.When the EAAT blocker TBOA was employed, glutamine remained nearly unchanged whereas glutamate significantly enhanced. These results led us to suggest that glutamine release through glial SN1 is related to EAAT activity that can be modulated by intrinsic extracellular glutamate in human cortical slices.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Neural Transmission
Issue number11
Pages (from-to)1321-1327
Number of pages7
Publication statusPublished - 10.07.2014


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