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Keywords:

  • N-Acetyl-l-aspartate;
  • N-Acetyl-α-aspartylglutamate;
  • β-Citryl-l-glutamate;
  • Distribution;
  • Brain

Abstract: A simple and sensitive gas-chromatographic method for the determination of N-acetyl-l-aspartic acid (NA-Asp), N-acetyl-α-aspartylglutamic acid (NA-Asp-Glu) and β-citryl-l-glutamic acid (β-CG) was developed. The organ, regional and phylogenetic distributions of these compounds were studied. NA-Asp and NA-Asp-Glu were highly concentrated in nervous tissue, and less than 1% of the amounts in the nervous tissues were found in nonnervous organs. These two compounds showed a reciprocal relationship in their regional distribution in mature brains, but such a relationship was not evident or was even reversed in immature brains. The two compounds also showed different developmental changes in different regions of the brain. Fish brain contained a relatively high concentration of NA-Asp, but only a trace amount of NA-Asp-Glu. By contrast, a 10 times higher concentration of NA-Asp-Glu than NA-Asp was found in frog brain. Reptilian brain contained similar amounts of each compound. Avian and mammalian brain had NA-Asp at a roughly 10 times higher concentration than NA-Asp-Glu. β-CG occurred at the highest concentration in the immature brain of rat and guinea pig, but disappeared in the mature brains. The adult frog brain, however, contained a large amount of β-CG. In the adult rat, testis contained the highest concentration of β-CG.