[15N]Aspartate metabolism in cultured astrocytes. Studies with gas chromatography-mass spectrometry

M. Yudkoff, I. Nissim, David E Pleasure

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21 Scopus citations


The metabolism of 2.5 mM-[15N]aspartate in cultured astrocytes was studied with gas chromatography-mass spectrometry. Three primary metabolic pathways of aspartate nitrogen disposition were identified: (1) transamination with 2-oxoglutarate to form [15N]glutamate, the nitrogen of which subsequently was transferred to glutamine, alanine, serine and ornithine; (2) condensation with IMP in the first step of the purine nucleotide cycle, the aspartate nitrogen appearing as [6-amino-15N]adenine nucleotides; (3) condensation with citrulline to form argininosuccinate, which is cleaved to yield [15N]arginine. Of these three pathways, the formation of arginine was quantitatively the most important, and net nitrogen flux to arginine was greater than flux to other amino acids, including glutamine. Notwithstanding the large amount of [15N]arginine produced, essentially no [15N]urea was measured. Addition of NaH13CO3 to the astrocyte culture medium was associated with the formation of [13C]citrulline, thus confirming that these cells are capable of citruline synthesis de novo. When astrocytes were incubated with a lower (0.05 mM) concentration of [15N]aspartate, most 15N was recovered in alanine, glutamine and arginine. Formation of [6-amino-15N]adenine nucleotides was diminished markedly compared with results obtained in the presence of 2.5 mM-[15N]aspartate.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)193-201
Number of pages9
JournalBiochemical Journal
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1987
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry


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