Fine structural localization of glutamine synthetase in astrocytes of rat brain

Michael D. Norenberg, Antonio Martinez-Hernandez

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1051 Scopus citations


The distribution of glutamine synthetase was determined in rat brain by ultrastructural immunocytochemistry. Except for trace amounts in a rare indeterminate glial cell, all the reaction product was located in astrocytes. Specifically, none was observed in neurons, synaptic endings, oligodendrocytes, microglial cells, pericytes, endothelial cells and other mesenchymal vascular elements. The results of this study clearly indicate that the astrocyte forms the compartment in brain concerned with glutamine synthesis, thereby assigning a key role to the astrocyte in the metabolism of ammonia and the putative neurotransmitters, glutamic acid and γ-aminobutyric acid. The localization of glutamine synthetase in astrocytes additionally provides a valuable marker for a number of neurobiological studies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)303-310
Number of pages8
JournalBrain research
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2 1979
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Molecular Biology
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Developmental Biology


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