Ethanol alters glutamate but not adenosine uptake in rat astrocytes: evidence for protein kinase C involvement

Neurochem Res. 2002 Apr;27(4):289-96. doi: 10.1023/a:1014955111742.


Glutamate is the primary excitatory neurotransmitter in brain. By stimulating neuronal activity, glutamate increases cellular energy utilization, enhances ATP hydrolysis and promotes the formation of adenosine. Adenosine has receptor-mediated effects that reduce or oppose the excitatory effects of glutamate. As a possible mechanism for ethanol's ability to inhibit excitatory effects of glutamate and enhance inhibitory effects of adenosine, we tested the hypothesis that ethanol promotes [3H]glutamate uptake and inhibits [3H]adenosine uptake. Using primary cultures of rat astrocytes, we found that acute treatment with ethanol (50 mM, 30 min) inhibited [3H]glutamate uptake and reduced protein kinase C (PKC)-induced stimulation of [3H]glutamate uptake. Prolonged treatment (50 mM, 3 day) with ethanol, however, increased both [3H]glutamate uptake and PKC activity. Contrary to other cell types, neither acute or chronic ethanol exposure affected [3H]adenosine uptake in astrocytes. These data indicate that in rat cortical astrocytes ethanol affects [3H]glutamate uptake but not [3H]adenosine uptake by affecting PKC modulation of transporter activity.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adenosine / metabolism*
  • Adenosine Triphosphate / metabolism
  • Alkaloids
  • Animals
  • Astrocytes / drug effects
  • Astrocytes / metabolism*
  • Benzophenanthridines
  • Biological Transport / drug effects
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Cerebral Cortex / drug effects
  • Cerebral Cortex / embryology
  • Cerebral Cortex / metabolism
  • Embryo, Mammalian
  • Ethanol / pharmacology*
  • Glutamic Acid / metabolism*
  • Kinetics
  • Phenanthridines / pharmacology
  • Protein Kinase C / metabolism*
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley
  • Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Tetradecanoylphorbol Acetate / pharmacology


  • Alkaloids
  • Benzophenanthridines
  • Phenanthridines
  • Ethanol
  • Glutamic Acid
  • Adenosine Triphosphate
  • chelerythrine
  • Protein Kinase C
  • Adenosine
  • Tetradecanoylphorbol Acetate