Neuronal glutamate transporter EAAT4 is expressed in astrocytes

Wen Hui Hu, Winston M. Walters, Xiao Mei Xia, Shaffiat A. Karmally, John R. Bethea

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

47 Scopus citations


High-affinity excitatory amino acid transporters (EAATs) are essential to terminate glutamatergic neurotransmission and to prevent excitotoxicity. To date, five distinct EAATs have been cloned from animal and human tissues: GLAST (EAAT1), GLT-1 (EAAT2), EAAC1 (EAAT3), EAAT4, and EAAT5. EAAT1 and EAAT2 are commonly known as glial glutamate transporters, whereas EAAT3, EAAT4, and EAAT5 are neuronal. EAAT4 is largely expressed in cerebellar Purkinje cells. In this study, using immunohistochemistry and Western blotting, we found that EAAT4-like immunoreactivity (ir) is enriched in the spinal cord and forebrain. Double-labeled fluorescent immunostaining and confocal image analysis indicated that EAAT4-like ir colocalizes with an astrocytic marker, glial fibrillary acidic protein (GFAP). The astrocytic localization of EAAT4 was further confirmed in astrocyte cultures by double-labeled fluorescent immunocytochemistry and Western blotting. Reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction analysis demonstrated mRNA expression of EAAT4 in astrocyte cultures. Sequencing confirmed the specificity of the amplified fragment. These results demonstrate that EAAT4 is expressed in astrocytes. This astrocytic localization of neuronal EAAT4 may reveal a new function of EAAT4 in the central nervous system.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)13-25
Number of pages13
Issue number1
StatePublished - Oct 1 2003


  • Excitatory amino acid transporter
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • RT-PCR
  • Western blot

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology


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