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Down-regulation of Glial Glutamate Transporters after Glutamatergic Denervation in the Rat Brain


Correspondence to: Niels C. Danbolt


Membrane-localized transporter proteins, expressed in both neurons and glial cells, are responsible for removal of extracellular glutamate in the mammalian CNS. The amounts and activities of these transporters may be under regulatory control. We demonstrate here that cortical lesions, which decrease striatal glutamate uptake in synaptosome-containing homogenates by ∼50%, also decrease the striatal concentrations of the astrocytic glutamate transporter proteins, GLT-1 and GLAST by ∼20–30%. Since GABA uptake activity was not decreased and glial fibrillary acidic protein was increased in the same samples, the lesion-induced losses of GLT-1 and GLAST were not caused by a general impairment of neuronal or glial function. The observed reduction in the two astrocytic glutamate transporters after corticostriatal nerve terminal degeneration indicates that their levels of expression are dependent on glutamatergic innervation.

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