Biochemical pharmacology

Decreased glutamate metabolism in cultured astrocytes in the presence of thiopental.

PMID 10509760


The effect of thiopental on glutamate metabolism was studied by 13C magnetic resonance spectroscopy. Cerebral cortical astrocytes were incubated with 0.5 mM [U-13C]glutamate for 2 hr in the presence of 0.5 or 1 mM thiopental. Labeled glutamate, glutamine, aspartate, and glutathione were observed in cell extracts, and glutamine, aspartate, and lactate in the medium. Not only present in the medium was uniformly labeled glutamate, but also glutamate derived from the tricarboxylic acid (TCA) cycle, and thus glutamate release could be detected. The amounts of [U-13C]glutamate and unlabeled glucose taken up by astrocytes were unchanged in the presence of 0.5 mM thiopental and decreased to about 50% and 80%, respectively when the concentration was increased to 1 mM. The amounts of most metabolites synthesized from [U-13C]glutamate were unchanged in the presence of 0.5 mM thiopental, but decreased [U-13C]glutamine, [U-13C]aspartate, and [U-13C]lactate were observed in the 1 mM group. Surprisingly, the amounts of [1,2,3-13C]glutamate, [2,3-13C]aspartate, and [3,4-13C]aspartate (2nd turn via the TCA cycle) were unchanged. However, this was not the case for [1,2-13C]lactate and [2,3-13C]lactate. Such variations indicate cellular compartmentation, possibly caused by a heterogeneous glutamate concentration within the cells affecting TCA cycle turnover rates differently.