Osmosensitive release of neurotransmitter amino acids: Relevance and mechanisms

Herminia Pasantes-Morales, Rodrigo Franco, Lenin Ochoa, Benito Ordaz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

44 Scopus citations


Hyposmolarity activates amino acid efflux as part of the corrective volume process in a variety of cells. This review discusses the mechanism of amino acid release in brain cells preparations. Results present evidence of substantial differences between the efflux of taurine and that of GABA and glutamate, which besides a possible role as osmolytes, have a main function as synaptic transmitters. The differences found concern the efflux time course, the sensitivity to Cl- channel blockers, the modulation by tyrosine kinases, the influence of PKC and the effect of cytoskeleton disruptive agents. While taurine efflux features fit well with the mechanisms so far described in most cell types, the efflux of GABA and glutamate does not. Alternate mechanisms for the release of these two amino acids are discussed, including a PKC-modulated, actin-dependent exocytosis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)59-65
Number of pages7
JournalNeurochemical Research
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - 2002


  • Hyperexcitability
  • Hyposmolarity
  • PKC
  • Tyrosine kinases

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience

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