Cerebral cortex ammonia and glutamine metabolism during liver insufficiency-induced hyperammonemia in the rat. Academic Article uri icon


  • Hyperammonemia has been suggested to induce enhanced cerebral cortex ammonia uptake, subsequent glutamine synthesis and accumulation, and finally net glutamine release into the blood stream, but this has never been confirmed in liver insufficiency models. Therefore, cerebral cortex ammonia- and glutamine-related metabolism was studied during liver insufficiency-induced hyperammonemia by measuring plasma flow and venous-arterial concentration differences of ammonia and amino acids across the cerebral cortex (enabling estimation of net metabolite exchange), 1 day after portacaval shunting and 2, 4, and 6 h after hepatic artery ligation (or in controls). The intra-organ effects were investigated by measuring cerebral cortex tissue ammonia and amino acids 6 h after liver ischemia induction or in controls. Arterial ammonia and glutamine increased in portacaval-shunted rats versus controls, and further increased during liver ischemia. Cerebral cortex net ammonia uptake, observed in portacaval-shunted rats, increased progressively during liver ischemia, but net glutamine release was only observed after 6 h of liver ischemia. Cerebral cortex tissue glutamine, gamma-aminobutyric acid, most other amino acids, and ammonia levels were increased during liver ischemia. Glutamate was equally decreased in portacaval-shunted and liver-ischemia rats. The observed net cerebral cortex ammonia uptake, cerebral cortex tissue ammonia and glutamine accumulation, and finally glutamine release into the blood suggest that the rat cerebral cortex initially contributes to net ammonia removal from the blood during liver insufficiency-induced hyperammonemia by augmenting tissue glutamine and ammonia pools, and later by net glutamine release into the blood. The changes in cerebral cortex glutamate and gamma-aminobutyric acid could be related to altered ammonia metabolism.

published proceedings

  • J Neurochem

author list (cited authors)

  • Dejong, C. H., Kampman, M. T., Deutz, N. E., & Soeters, P. B.

citation count

  • 62

complete list of authors

  • Dejong, CH||Kampman, MT||Deutz, NE||Soeters, PB

publication date

  • September 1992