Low dose of L-glutamic acid attenuated the neurological dysfunctions and excitotoxicity in bilateral common carotid artery occluded mice

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Glutamate, an excitatory neurotransmitter in the brain, produces excitotoxicity through its agonistic action on postsynaptic N-methyl-D-aspartate receptor, resulting in neurodegeneration. We hypothesized that the administration of low doses of glutamate in cerebral ischemia could attenuate the excitotoxicity in neurons through its autoreceptor regulatory mechanism, and thereby control neurodegeneration. To test the hypothesis, the effect of L-glutamic acid (L-GA) 400 μmol/l/kg was evaluated in a bilateral common carotid artery occlusion-induced global ischemic mouse model. Memantine was used as a positive control. Global ischemia in mice was induced by occlusion of both the common carotid artery (bilateral common carotid artery occlusion) for 20 min, followed by reperfusion injury. L-GA was infused slowly through the tail vein 30 min before the surgery and every 24 h thereafter until the end of the experiment. The time-dependent change in cerebral blood flow was monitored using a laser Doppler image analyzer. The neurotransmitters glutamate and γ-aminobutyric acid (GABA) and the neurobiochemicals ATP, glutathione, and nitric oxide were measured in the different regions of brain at 0, 24, 48, and 72 h after reperfusion injury. L-GA increased locomotor activity, muscle coordination, and cerebral blood flow in ischemic mice at 72 h after ischemic insult. L-GA reduced glutamate levels in the cortex, striatum, and hippocampus at 72 h, whereas GABA levels were elevated in all three brain regions studied. Further, L-GA elevated glutathione levels and attenuated nitric oxide levels, but failed to restore ATP levels 72 h after ischemia-reperfusion. We conclude that the gradual reduction of glutamate along with elevation of GABA in different brain regions could have contributed toward the neuroprotective effect of L-GA. Hence, a slow infusion of a low dose of L-GA could be beneficial in controlling excitotoxicity-induced neurodegeneration following ischemia.

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