The neurotoxin diethyl dithiophosphate impairs glutamate transport in cultured Bergmann glia cells.


Departamento de Toxicología, Centro de Investigación y de Estudios Avanzados Del Instituto Politécnico Nacional, Ciudad de México, 07000, Mexico. Electronic address: [Email]


Glutamate, the main excitatory neurotransmitter in the vertebrate Central Nervous System, is involved in almost every aspect of brain physiology, and its signaling properties are severely affected in most neurodegenerative diseases. This neurotransmitter has to be efficiently removed from the synaptic cleft in order to prevent an over-stimulation of glutamate receptors that leads to neuronal death. Specific sodium-dependent membrane transporters, highly enriched in glial cells, elicit the clearance of glutamate. Once internalized, it is metabolized to glutamine by the glia-enriched enzyme Glutamine synthetase. Accumulated glutamine is released into the extracellular space for its uptake into pre-synaptic neurons and its conversion to glutamate that is packed into synaptic vesicles completing the glutamate/glutamine cycle. Diverse chemical compounds, like organophosphates, directly affect brain chemistry by altering levels of neurotransmitters in the synaptic cleft. Organophosphate compounds are widely used as pesticides, and all living organisms are continuously exposed to these substances, either in a direct or indirect manner. Its metabolites, like the diethyl dithiophosphate, are capable of causing brain damage through diverse mechanisms including perturbation of neuronal-glial cell interactions and have been associated with attention-deficit disorders and other mental illness. In order to characterize the neurotoxic mechanisms of diethyl dithiophosphate, we took advantage of the well characterized model of chick cerebellar Bergmann glia cultures. A significant impairment of [3H] d-Aspartate transport was found upon exposure to the metabolite. These results indicate that glia cells are targets of neurotoxic substances such as pesticides and that these cells might be critically involved in the associated neuronal death.


Bergmann glia,Dialkyl phosphates,Glutamate transporters,Organophosphate neurotoxicity,

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