Pharmacological tools that interact with the mechanisms that regulate vesicular filling and release of the neurotransmitter l-glutamate would be of enormous value. In this study, we provide physiological evidence that the glutamate analog, 3-aminoglutarate (3-AG), acts as a false transmitter to reduce presynaptic glutamate release. 3-AG inhibits glutamate-mediated neurotransmission both in primary neuronal cultures and in brain slices with more intact neural circuits. When assayed with the low affinity glutamate receptor antagonist γ-DGG, we demonstrate that 3-AG significantly reduces the synaptic cleft glutamate concentration, suggesting that 3-AG may act as a false transmitter to compete with glutamate during vesicle filling. Furthermore, using three different epileptic models (Mg2+-free, 4-AP, and high K+), we demonstrate that 3-AG is capable of suppressing epileptiform activity both before and after its induction. Our studies, along with those of the companion paper by Foster et al. (2015) indicate that 3-AG is a "silent" false transmitter for glutamate neurons that is a useful pharmacological tool to probe the mechanisms governing vesicular storage and release of glutamate under both physiological and pathophysiological conditions. 3-AG may have potential therapeutic value in conditions where the glutamate neurotransmitter system is pathologically overactive.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience