Opera Medica et Physiologica

Niklas J. Gerkau

Differential Contribution of GLAST and GLT-1 to Network Sodium Signaling in the Early Postnatal Hippocampus


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Recurrent epileptiform activity induces network sodium oscillations in the juvenile hippocampus. In CA1 pyramidal neurons, these oscillations are mainly caused by opening of glutamate-gated ion channels, while in astrocytes, sodium increases are due to sodium-dependent glutamate uptake. Astrocytes express the glutamate transporters GLAST and GLT- 1, which exhibit differential expression patterns during postnatal development. The specific contribution of these transporter subtypes to sodium oscillations is not known. We addressed this question by performing somatic sodium imaging in hippocampal tissue slices from neonatal (postnatal days (P) 2-4) and two-week-old (P14-16) mice. We found that perfusion with Mg2+-free, bicuculline-containing saline caused sodium oscillations in both developmental stages. Moreover, at both P2-4 and P14-16, application of TFB-TBOA to inhibit GLAST and GLT-1 generated fast sodium loading of neurons and termination of oscillatory activity, accompanied by loss of membrane integrity of neurons, while astrocytes experienced only minor increases in baseline sodium. DHK, a GLT-1-specific blocker, induced moderate sodium loading of neurons, reduced the amplitude of neuronal sodium oscillations and increased the oscillation frequency in two-week-old mice. In neonatal animals, DHK increased baseline sodium and reduced the peak amplitude of sodium transients as well, but exerted only moderate effects on network activity. Taken together, our experiments demonstrate the essential role of glutamate uptake for sodium homeostasis and neural function already in the early neonatal brain. Moreover, they suggest that, although GLAST dominates in neonatal tissue and GLT-1 is predominant at P14-16, both transporter subtypes functionally contribute to glutamate clearance during the first three weeks after birth. 


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