Motor discoordination and increased susceptibility to cerebellar injury in GLAST mutant mice


Correspondence: Kohichi Tanaka, as above. E-mail:


To study the function of GLAST, a glutamate transporter highly expressed in the cerebellar Bergmann astrocytes, the mouse GLAST gene was inactivated. GLAST-deficient mice developed normally and could manage simple coordinated tasks, such as staying on a stationary or a slowly rotating rod, but failed more challenging task such as staying on a quickly rotating rod. Electrophysiological examination revealed that Purkinje cells in the mutant mice remained to be multiply innervated by climbing fibres even at the adult stage. We also found that oedema volumes in the mutant mice increased significantly after cerebellar injury. These results indicate that GLAST plays active roles both in the cerebellar climbing fibre synapse formation and in preventing excitotoxic cerebellar damage after acute brain injury.