We have studied factors controlling the release of endogenous ascorbate from synaptosomes prepared from various regions of the rat brain. Ascorbate was spontaneously released from synaptosomes, and this efflux could be enhanced by incubation at 37°C. A further additional ascorbate release could be induced by potassium depolarization or, in striatal, hippocampal and cortical synaptosomes, by incubation with the amino acid glutamate. Spontaneous, depolarization and glutamate-evoked ascorbate release were shown to occur by separate mechanisms. Glutamate-evoked ascorbate release occurred by a heteroexchange mechanism. In cerebellar synaptosomes there was no evidence for such heteroexchange; however, in synaptosomes of this brain region kainic acid induced ascorbate release, probably by acting on excitatory amino acid receptors. The results are discussed in relation to the changes in extracellular brain ascorbate occurring in vivo. © 1984.
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