Distribution of glutamine synthetase in the rat central nervous system

J Histochem Cytochem. 1979 Mar;27(3):756-62. doi: 10.1177/27.3.39099.


The results of a light microscopic immunohistochemical study of glutamine synthetase in rat nervous system are presented. In all sites studied the enzyme was confined to astrocytes. Except for trace amounts in ependymal cells, the enzyme was not observed in other cells of the nervous system including neurons, choroid plexus, third ventricular tanycytes, subependymal cells and mesodermally-derived elements. The intensity of astrocyte staining varied in different regions with the greatest degree noted in the hippocampus and cerebellar cortex while the least was noted in brain stem, deep cerebellar nuclei and spinal cord. The glutamine synthetase content correlated well with sites of suspected glutamergic activity in keeping with the view of a critical role of astrocytes in the regulation of the putative neurotransmitter glutamic acid.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Astrocytes / enzymology
  • Brain / enzymology
  • Central Nervous System / enzymology*
  • Glutamate-Ammonia Ligase / metabolism*
  • Histocytochemistry
  • Immunochemistry
  • Male
  • Rats
  • Spinal Cord / enzymology


  • Glutamate-Ammonia Ligase