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Imino Acids of the Brain

  • Ezio Giacobini

Abstract

Extensive and detailed review articles and chapters on brain amino acids can easily be found in the literature, including handbooks of neurochemistry. To my knowledge, this is the first chapter to discuss separately data on imino acids (cyclic secondary imino acids) present in the nervous tissue. Thirty-two substances are listed by Himwhich and Agrawal in Volume 1 of the Handbook of Neurochemistry 1 as amino acids and analogues present in the brain of five mammalian species (mouse, rabbit, guinea pig, cat, and dog). The concentrations reported in brain vary widely from a few nanomoles (half-cystine) to several micromoles (glutamic acid) per gram fresh tissue. So far, only three imino acids have been related to brain function: proline (PRO), hydroxyproline (HYP), and pipecolic acid (PA) (Fig. 1). Their concentrations in whole brain are relatively low compared to other cerebral amino acids: PRO (30–80 nmol/ g), HYP (40–80 nmol/g), and PA (18 ± 4 nmol/gla). Cat brain has ten times lower concentrations of PRO than GABA.2 However, this is the same range shown by several amino acids such as methionine, leucine, isoleucine, tyrosine, phenylalanine, and ornithine.3 It is interesting to note that several of these “trace amino acids” are present at relatively high levels (proline, valine, isoleucine, tyrosine, ornithine, and phenylalanine) in the early postnatal life and fall to significantly lower levels at 2–3 weeks after birth. These changes may result from (1) qualitative changes in protein synthesis after birth, (2) high concentrations in the mother’s blood prior to delivery, or (3) slower accumulation from circulation into the brain in the adult because of changes in the blood-brain barrier (BBB) after birth. or (4) postnatal activation of breakdown and secretion.

Keywords

Brain Slice Brain Uptake Gaba Uptake Pipecolic Acid Imino Acid 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1983

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ezio Giacobini
    • 1
  1. 1.Laboratory of Neuropsychopharmacology, Department of Biobehavioral SciencesUniversity of ConnecticutStorrsUSA

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