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Inhibitory effects of (2S, 3S)-3-[3-[4-(trifluoromethyl)benzoylamino]benzyloxy]aspartate (TFB-TBOA) on the astrocytic sodium responses to glutamate.
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Astrocytes are responsible for the majority of the clearance of extracellular glutamate released during neuronal activity. dl-threo-beta-benzyloxyaspartate (TBOA) is extensively used as inhibitor of glutamate transport activity, but suffers from relatively low affinity for the transporter. Here, we characterized the effects of (2S, 3S)-3-[3-[4-(trifluoromethyl)benzoylamino]benzyloxy]aspartate (TFB-TBOA), a recently developed inhibitor of the glutamate transporter on mouse cortical astrocytes in primary culture. The glial Na(+)-glutamate transport system is very efficient and its activation by glutamate causes rapid intracellular Na(+) concentration (Na(+)(i)) changes that enable real time monitoring of transporter activity. Na(+)(i) was monitored by fluorescence microscopy in single astrocytes using the fluorescent Na(+)-sensitive probe sodium-binding benzofuran isophtalate. When applied alone, TFB-TBOA, at a concentration of 1 muM, caused small alterations of Na(+)(i). TFB-TBOA inhibited the Na(+)(i) response evoked by 200 muM glutamate in a concentration-dependent manner with IC(50) value of 43+/-9 nM, as measured on the amplitude of the Na(+)(i) response. The maximum inhibition of glutamate-evoked Na(+)(i) increase by TFB-TBOA was >80%, but was only partly reversible. The residual response persisted in the presence of the AMPA/kainate receptor antagonist CNQX. TFB-TBOA also efficiently inhibited Na(+)(i) elevations caused by the application of d-aspartate, a transporter substrate that does not activate non-NMDA ionotropic receptors. TFB-TBOA was found not to influence the membrane properties of cultured cortical neurons recorded in whole-cell patch clamp. Thus, TFB-TBOA, with its high potency and its apparent lack of neuronal effects, appears to be one of the most useful pharmacological tools available so far for studying glial glutamate transporters.
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