Blood-mediated scavenging of cerebrospinal fluid glutamate


Address correspondence and reprint requests to V.I. Teichberg, Department of Neurobiology, The Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot 76100, Israel. E-mail:


The maintenance of brain extracellular glutamate (Glu) at levels below its excitotoxic threshold is performed by Glu transporters present on glia and neurons as well as on brain capillary endothelial cells which remove brain Glu into blood. The feasibility of accelerating the naturally occurring brain-to-blood Glu efflux was studied using paradigms based on the fate of Glu present in the cerebrospinal fluid or infused into the brain ventricles and monitored before, during, and after decreasing blood Glu levels with pyruvate and oxaloacetate, the respective Glu co-substrates of the blood resident enzymes glutamate–pyruvate transaminase and glutamate–oxaloacetate transaminase. Results from cerebroventricular perfusions with [3H]Glu, intracerebroventricular injections of [3H]Glu, and measurements of the basal CSF Glu levels point out to the same conclusion that the intravenous administration of pyruvate and oxaloacetate which decreases blood Glu levels accelerates the brain-to-blood Glu efflux. We conclude that the brain extracellular Glu levels can be controlled in part by the blood Glu levels. The results may provide not only a rational explanation for the inhibition of Glu release and neuroprotective effects of parentally administered pyruvate in hemorrhagic shock and forebrain ischemia but could also outline a potential strategy for the removal of excess Glu in various neurodegenerative disorders.