Glucose replaces glutamate as energy substrate to fuel glutamate uptake in glutamate dehydrogenase-deficient astrocytes

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Cultured astrocytes treated with siRNA to knock down glutamate dehydrogenase (GDH) were used to investigate whether this enzyme is important for the utilization of glutamate as an energy substrate. By incubation of these cells in media containing different concentrations of glutamate (range 100-500 µM) in the presence or in the absence of glucose, the metabolism of these substrates was studied by using tritiated glutamate or 2-deoxyglucose as tracers. In addition, the cellular contents of glutamate and ATP were determined. The astrocytes were able to maintain physiological levels of ATP regardless of the expression level of GDH and the incubation condition, indicating a high degree of flexibility with regard to regulatory mechanisms involved in maintaining an adequate energy level in the cells. Glutamate uptake was found to be increased in these cells when exposed to increasing levels of extracellular glutamate independently of the GDH expression level. Moreover, increased intracellular glutamate content was observed in the GDH-deficient cells after a 2-hr incubation in the presence of 100 µM glutamate. It is significant that GDH-deficient cells exhibited an increased utilization of glucose in the presence of 250 and 500 µM glutamate, monitored as an increase in the accumulation of tritiated 2-deoxyglucose-6-phosphate. These findings underscore the importance of the expression level of GDH for the ability to utilize glutamate as an energy source fueling its own energy-requiring uptake.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Neuroscience Research
Issue number7
Pages (from-to)1093-100
Number of pages8
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2015

    Research areas

  • Adenosine Triphosphate, Analysis of Variance, Animals, Animals, Newborn, Astrocytes, Cells, Cultured, Cerebral Cortex, Dose-Response Relationship, Drug, Extracellular Fluid, Glucose, Glucose-6-Phosphate, Glutamate Dehydrogenase, Glutamic Acid, Mice, Mice, Inbred Strains, RNA, Small Interfering

ID: 156853768