Neuromodulatory Actions of Glutamate, GABA and Taurine: Regulatory Role of Astrocytes

  • Arne Schousboe
  • Orla M. Larsson
  • Aase Frandsen
  • Bo Belhage
  • Herminia Pasantes-Morales
  • Povl Krogsgaard-Larsen
Part of the Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology book series (AEMB, volume 296)


In addition to being actively involved in the general metabolism of the central nervous system, the amino acids glutamate and Chapter 16(173,175–176)-aminobutyrate (GABA) serve as respectively excitatory and inhibitory neurotransmitters (Schousboe, 1990). This function is mediated by pharmacologically distinct receptors for each of the two amino acids. Receptors for glutamate are generally subdivided into 3 major classes exhibiting different pharmacological profiles, i.e. N-methyl-D-aspartate-(NMDA), kainate-, and quisqualate/AMPA (RS-α-amino-3-hydraxy-5-methyl-4-isoxazolo-propionate)- receptors (Watkins and Olverman, 1987). Likewise, GABA receptors are subdivided into two major classes referred to as GABAA and GABAB receptors (Johnston et al., 1984). It should, however, be emphasized that diversities exist within these respective classes of receptors as binding sites with different affinities for the amino acids have been observed (Johnston et al., 1984; Drejer & Honoré, 1988). Such a diversity is consistent with the discovery of a large number of subunits of these receptors with different amino acid sequences (Schofield et al., 1987; Hollmann et al., 1989). This, in turn, may be reflected by the multiple functions of these receptors such as involvement in modulation of neuro-transmitter release and mediation of trophic and toxic actions. These functional aspects will be discussed below.


Glutamate Receptor Excitatory Amino Acid Gaba Receptor Cerebellar Granule Cell Glutamate Uptake 
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Copyright information

© Current Medicine, Inc. 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  • Arne Schousboe
    • 1
  • Orla M. Larsson
    • 1
  • Aase Frandsen
    • 1
  • Bo Belhage
    • 2
  • Herminia Pasantes-Morales
    • 3
  • Povl Krogsgaard-Larsen
    • 4
  1. 1.PharmaBiotec Research Center, Dept. of BiologyRoyal Danish School of PharmacyCopenhagenDenmark
  2. 2.Dept. of Biochemistry APanum InstituteCopenhagenDenmark
  3. 3.Inst. of Cellular PhysiologyNational Univ. of MexicoMexico D.F.Mexico
  4. 4.PharmaBiotec Research Center, Dept. of Organic ChemistryRoyal Danish School of PharmacyCopenhagenDenmark

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