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New Nerve Transmitter Overturns Long-Cherished Laws

James Teo james.teo at chch.ox.ac.uk
Wed Nov 10 17:21:21 EST 1999

Using the term transmitter is awfully strong, since it seems to act
only to modulate an existing transmitter's receptor.

However, it has long been known that glia releases some substances
which are known to act as neurotransmitters. Adenosine, BDNF, 
aspartate, and my personal speciality: glutamate, the most common
neurotransmitter in the whole brain. (Read my abstract in Teo et al
Proceedings of the British Pharmacological Society, July 1999,
page P83). Hopefully I might get a publication from that.

Anyways, as far as I am aware all of the studies have only been done 
in vitro, since it is impossible to distinguish between astrocyte
release and neuronal release in in vivo models. Even some primary
cultures are problematic, since they may be contaminated with
neurones. My study is done on a immortal cell line (C6 glioma) so
there is little fear of contamination.

Other references outlining the 'glial heresy' against the dogma of the
Bezzi et al 1998, Nature 391, pages 281-285
Jeftinija et al 1996, Journal of Neurochemistry 66(2), pages 676-684
Parpura et al 1994, Nature 369, page 744-747
Steinhauser & Gallo 1996, Trends in Neurosciences 19(8), pages 339-345
Stella et al 1994, Journal of Neuroscience 14(2), pagesd 568-575
Smith, S (1996) Current Biology (can't remember exactly)

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