Peripheral administration of monosodium-L-glutamate (MSG) has been found to be neurotoxic in neonatal rats. When administered in an acute, subconvulsive dose (500 mg/kg i.p.), MSG altered neurotrnnsmitter content in discrete brain regions of adult (6 month old) and aged (24 month old) male Fischer-344 rats. Norepinephrine (NE) content was reduced in both the hypothalamus (16%) and cerebellum (11%) of adult rats, but was increased in both the hypothalamus (7%) and cerebellum (14%) of aged rats after MSG treatment. MSG also altered the dopamine content in adult rats in both the posterior cortex and the striatum, causing a reduction (23%) and an increase (12%), respectively. Glycine content in the midbrain of aged rats increased (21%) after MSG injection. Of particular interest is the widespread monoamine and amino acid deficits found in the aged rats in many of the brain regions examined. NE content was decreased (11%) in the cerebellum of aged rats. Dopamine content was reduced in both the posterior cortex (35%) and striatum (10%) of aged rats compared to adult animals. Cortical serotonergic deficits were present in aged rats with reductions in both the frontal (13%) and posterior cortex (21%). Aged rats also displayed deficits in amino acids, particularly the excitatory amino acids. There were glutamate deficits (9-18% reductions) in the cortical regions (posterior and frontal) as well as midbrain and brain stem. Aspartate, the other excitatory amino acid transmitter, was reduced 10% in the brainstem of aged rats. These data indicate that an acute, subconvulsive, dose of MSG may elicit neurochemical changes in both adult and aged male Fisher-344 rats, and that there are inherent age-related deficits in particular neurotransmitters in aged male Fisher-344 rats as indicated by the reductions in both monoamines and amino acids.
- Fischer 344