About this Research Topic
The progress in these areas puts emphasis on i) firmly establishing whether or not aralar, a necessary component of the aspartate/glutamate exchanger in the malate-aspartate cycle is expressed in astrocytes, and ii) the detailed processes occurring in astrocytes and in neurons during the formation and subsequent oxidative degradation of transmitter glutamate and GABA. Initial observations by different groups showed no astrocytic aralar expression in mature brain. However, a recent paper by Pardo et al. (J. Cereb Blood Flow & Met.) used improved cytochemical techniques and showed some protein expression in astrocytes in mature brain; Hertz (same journal) calculated that the amount would be sufficient for normal oxidative degradation. However, there are indications that the astrocytic-neuronal-astrocytic interactions in formation, transfer and re-oxidation of transmitter glutamate and GABA may repeatedely require additional MAS function. Equal expression of aralar mRNA has been shown by the Nedergaard group in neurons and astrocytes obtained by fluorescence-activated cell sorting of brain cells from mice co-expressing astrocytic and neuronal markers with different fluorescent signals. This has recently been confirmed and also shown to be the case for aralar protein (J. Neurochem, under revision).
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