Journal of Neural Transmission

, 116:131 | Cite as

Metabolism of galactose in the brain and liver of rats and its conversion into glutamate and other amino acids

  • Martin Roser
  • Djuro Josic
  • Maria Kontou
  • Kurt Mosetter
  • Peter Maurer
  • Werner Reutter
Basic Neurosciences, Genetics and Immunology - Original Article


Time- and dose-dependent measurements of metabolites of galactose (with glucose as control) in various organs of rats are discussed. Not only the liver but especially the brain and to a lesser extent the muscles also have the capacity to take up and metabolize galactose. Primarily, the concentrations of UDP-galactose, a pivotal compound in the metabolism of galactose, and UDP-glucose are measured. An important feature lies in the demonstration that galactose and glucose are metabolized to amino acids and that the only increases observed in the brain appear in the concentrations of glutamate, glutamine, GABA measured after acute galactose loads. In addition the increase in the amino acid concentrations after galactose has been administered persists for longer periods of time than after glucose administration. This conversion of hexoses, especially galactose, to amino acids requires the consumption of ammonia equivalents in the brain; this finding might stimulate the use of galactose as a new means of removal of this neurotoxic compound from the brain in patients suffering from hepatic encephalopathy or Alzheimer’s disease.


Galactose UDP-galactose UDP-glucose Glutamic acid Brain Liver 



The study has been supported by the Stiftung zur Förderung der Erforschung von Zivilisationskrankheiten Baden-Baden (Germany) and the Sonnenfeld-Stiftung Berlin (Germany).


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Martin Roser
    • 1
  • Djuro Josic
    • 3
  • Maria Kontou
    • 2
  • Kurt Mosetter
    • 4
  • Peter Maurer
    • 5
  • Werner Reutter
    • 2
  1. 1.Klinik für Psychiatrie und PsychotherapieNurtingenGermany
  2. 2.Institut für Biochemie und MolekularbiologieCharité-Universitätsmedizin Berlin (Freie Universität Berlin)Berlin-DahlemGermany
  3. 3.Proteomics Core, COBRE Center for Cancer Research DevelopmentRhode Island HospitalProvidenceUSA
  4. 4.Zentrum für interdisziplinäre TherapienKonstanzGermany
  5. 5.Max Grundig KlinikBühlGermany

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