Alterations in uptake and release rates for GABA, glutamate, and glutamine during biochemical maturation of highly purified cultures of cerebral cortical neurons, a GABAergic preparation

J Neurochem. 1984 Apr;42(4):951-60. doi: 10.1111/j.1471-4159.1984.tb12696.x.


This study demonstrates that virtually homogenous cultures of mouse cerebral neurons, obtained from 15-day-old embryos, differentiate at least as well as cultures which in addition contain astrocytes. This was indicated by glutamate decarboxylase activity which within 2 weeks rose from a negligible value to twice the level in the adult mouse cerebral cortex, and by a gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) uptake rate which quadrupled during the second week in culture and reached higher values than in brain slices. Within the same period, the GABA content increased four to five times to 75 nmol/mg protein, and a potassium-induced increase in [14C]GABA efflux became apparent. Although the development was faster than in vivo, optimum differentiation required maintenance of the cultures beyond the age of 1 week. Uptake and release rates for glutamate and glutamine underwent much less developmental alteration. At no time was there any potassium-induced release of radioactivity after exposure to [14C]glutamate, and the glutamate uptake was only slightly increased during the period of GABAergic development. This indicates that exogenous glutamate is not an important GABA precursor. Similarly, glutamine uptake was unaltered between days 7 and 14, although a small potassium-induced release of radioactivity after loading with glutamine suggests a partial conversion to GABA.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Astrocytes / metabolism
  • Cell Differentiation
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Cerebral Cortex / cytology*
  • Female
  • Glutamate Decarboxylase / metabolism
  • Glutamates / metabolism*
  • Glutamic Acid
  • Glutamine / metabolism*
  • Mice
  • Neurons / metabolism*
  • Potassium / pharmacology
  • Pregnancy
  • gamma-Aminobutyric Acid / metabolism*


  • Glutamates
  • Glutamine
  • Glutamic Acid
  • gamma-Aminobutyric Acid
  • Glutamate Decarboxylase
  • Potassium