Localization, transport, and uptake of D-aspartate in the rat adrenal and pituitary glands

Jen Ai Lee, Zhiqun Long, Noriyuki Nimura, Takeshi Iwatsubo, Kazuhiro Imai, Hiroshi Homma

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

46 Citations (Scopus)


Large amounts of D-aspartate (D-Asp) are present in the rat adrenal and pituitary glands. D-Asp is thought to be synthesized in the mammalian body and also accumulates in various tissues following intraperitoneal or intravenous administration. This report examines the origins of D-Asp in the adrenal and pituitary glands. We administered D-Asp to male rats intraperitoneally and immunolocalized this exogenous D-Asp in adrenal and pituitary tissue, using an anti-D-Asp antiserum which was previously developed in our laboratory. D-Asp levels in the rat adrenal gland have been shown to undergo a transient increase at 3 weeks of age and to decrease rapidly thereafter. We found that in the adrenal gland, exogenous D-Asp administered intraperitoneally was incorporated into the same region of the adrenal cortex in which endogenous D-Asp was present. By Northern and Western blot analysis and immunohistochemistry of glutamate (Glu) transporter, we also found that expression of the Glu transporter (GLAST), which has an affinity for D.Asp, transiently increased at 3 weeks of age and that localization patterns of the Glu transporter within the tissue were almost coincident with those of endogenous D-Asp. These observations suggest that D-Asp in the adrenal cortex of 3-week-old male rats is primarily acquired by uptake from the vascular system. We have previously shown that D-Asp is specifically localized in prolactin (PRL)-containing cells in the anterior lobe of the adult rat pituitary gland. Here we report that in the pituitary gland, exogenous D-Asp accumulated in endothelial cells, but not in PRL-containing cells. Northern and Western blot analysis and immunohistochemistry of Glu transporter revealed that developmental changes in the Glu transporter (GLAST) expression did not correlate with tissue levels of D-Asp and that the Glu transporter was not expressed in PRL-containing cells. These observations suggest that, in contrast to the adrenal gland, most of the D-Asp in the pituitary gland of adult male rats originates inside the gland itself.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)242-249
Number of pages8
JournalArchives of Biochemistry and Biophysics
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Jan 15 2001


  • Adrenal gland
  • D-amino acids
  • D-aspartate
  • Glutamate transporter
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Pituitary gland

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics
  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology


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