• Cerebral glutamine synthesis;
  • Glutamine retention;
  • Ouabain inhibition;
  • Cation effects;
  • Na+;
  • K+ pump—Astrocytes

Abstract: The ouabain-induced suppression of glutamine synthesis and retention in incubating rat brain cortex slices was found to be mimicked by changes in the cationic content of the incubation medium, which cause an increase in the intracellular [Na+] and a decrease in the intracellular [K+]. The suppression of glutamine synthesis (and fixation of ammonia) was also found to take place when Ca2+ was omitted from the incubation medium. This occurred whether endogenous or exogenous glutamate was the substrate for glutamine synthesis. The suppressions cannot be due solely to an effect on glutamate uptake, because the uptake is not markedly affected by these conditions. The results show that Na+, K+, and Ca2+ influence the synthesis and distribution of glutamine in the brain. They suggest that Ca2+ and the Na+, K+ pump may serve a role in regulating the activity of ATP-dependent glutamine synthetase, a key enzyme of the glutamate-glutamine cycle, located in the astrocytes. This may be mediated via a direct effect on the enzyme or through an effect on the production of ATP.