Glutamate and gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), act as excitatory and inhibitory neurotransmitters in CNS respectively. An increase in glutamate and a decrease in GABA concentration were observed in aged brain. However, the mechanism of these changes has not been very well elucidated. Glutamate decarboxylase (GAD) catalyzes the conversion of glutamate to GABA. Since the vitamin B6 is essential for the activities of GAD, this study was undertaken to investigate the effects of vitamin B6 administration on age related changes in rat brain. The animals were injected intraperitoneally with 1, 10 and 100 mg vitamin B6 /kg body weight /day for 30 days, and specific activity of GAD was assayed in the brain supernatant. The activity of the enzyme in aged rats was significantly lower as compared to that of young animals. Vitamin B6 induced activation of the brain enzyme in both ages, but the rate of the activation was markedly pronounced in aged animals. Significant activation rate of GAD by vitamin B6 in aged rat brain may be resulted from either lower availability of vitamin B6 in aged animals, or lower affinity of the enzyme for pyridoxal -5-phosphate, which is likely to be related to conformational changes of the enzyme during aging. It is suggested that vitamin B6 may restore the activity of the brain glutamate decarboxylase in aged rat.
Key words: Glutamate, gamma-aminobutyric acid, vitamin B6, aging, glutamate decarboxylase.
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