Veterinary and Biomedical Sciences, Department of


Date of this Version



Published in Neurochemical Research 27:1–2 (February 2002), pp. 59–65; doi: 10.1023/A:1014850505400


Copyright © 2002 Plenum Publishing Corporation. Used by permission.


Hyposmolarity activates amino acid efflux as part of the corrective volume process in a variety of cells. This review discusses the mechanism of amino acid release in brain cells preparations. Results present evidence of substantial differences between the efflux of taurine and that of GABA and glu-tamate, which besides a possible role as osmolytes, have a main function as synaptic transmitters. The differences found concern the efflux time course, the sensitivity to Cl channel blockers, the modulation by tyrosine kinases, the influence of PKC and the effect of cytoskeleton disruptive agents. While taurine efflux features fit well with the mechanisms so far described in most cell types, the efflux of GABA and glutamate does not. Alternate mechanisms for the release of these two amino acids are discussed, including a PKC-modulated, actin-dependent exocytosis.