N-acetyl-aspartyl-glutamate: regional levels in rat brain and the effects of brain lesions as determined by a new HPLC method

J Neurochem. 1984 Oct;43(4):1136-42. doi: 10.1111/j.1471-4159.1984.tb12854.x.


An isocratic HPLC method to measure endogenous N-acetyl-aspartyl-glutamate (NAAG) and N-acetyl-aspartate (NAA) is described. After removal of primary amines by passage of tissue extracts over AG-50 resin, the eluate was subject to HPLC anion-exchange analysis and eluted with phosphate buffer with absorbance monitored at 214 nm. The retention time for NAA was 5.6 min and for NAAG 11.4 min with a limit sensitivity of 0.1 nmol. The levels of NAA and NAAG were measured in 16 regions of rat brain and in heart and liver. NAAG was undetectable in heart and liver and exhibited 10-fold variation in concentration among brain regions; the highest levels were found in spinal cord. In contrast, low concentrations of NAA were detectable in heart and liver, and the regional distribution of NAA in brain varied only twofold. The regional distribution of NAA and NAAG correlated poorly. To assess the neuronal localization of these two compounds, the effects of selective brain lesions on their levels were examined. Decortication caused a 28% decrease in NAAG levels in the ipsilateral striatum while NAA decreased 38%. Kainate lesion of the striatum resulted in a 31% decrease in NAAG in the ipsilateral striatum, whereas NAA fell by 58%. Kainate lesion of the hippocampus resulted in significant decrements in NAAG and NAA in the hippocampus and septum. Transection of the spinal cord at midthorax resulted in a 51% decrease in NAAG levels immediately caudal and a 40% decrease immediately rostral to the lesion; however, NAA decreased only 30% in these areas. These results are consistent with a neuronal localization of NAAG in brain.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Aspartic Acid / analogs & derivatives
  • Aspartic Acid / metabolism
  • Brain / metabolism*
  • Chromatography, High Pressure Liquid
  • Corpus Striatum / drug effects
  • Corpus Striatum / physiology
  • Dipeptides / metabolism*
  • Hippocampus / drug effects
  • Hippocampus / physiology
  • Kainic Acid / pharmacology
  • Liver / metabolism
  • Male
  • Myocardium / metabolism
  • Rats
  • Rats, Inbred Strains
  • Spinal Cord / physiology
  • Tissue Distribution


  • Dipeptides
  • isospaglumic acid
  • Aspartic Acid
  • N-acetylaspartate
  • Kainic Acid