The glial enzyme glutamine synthetase (GS) is critical for central nervous system catabolism of glutamate and glutamine production. Upregulation of GS is a hallmark of reactive astrocytosis, although such induction following spinal cord injury (SCI) has not been reported. This study's purpose was to determine if GS activity is increased following SCI. Experimental rats received a complete spinal transection at the T5 segment and control rats received a laminectomy only. GS activities were determined using an enzymatic microassay. Glutamine levels were resolved in semi- adjacent sections. At 7 days following SCI, GS activity increased an average of 170-190% in white matter and 15-25% in gray matter immediately adjacent to the transection, and 70-90% in white matter and 40-45% in gray matter from cervical and lumbar enlargements. Correlative increases in glutamine were observed also. These findings further characterize the astrocytic response to SCI, which may contribute to altered glutamine metabolism in injured spinal tissue. (C) 2000 Elsevier Science Ireland Ltd.
- Glutamine synthetase
- Spinal cord