Effects of hyperglycemia and oxidative stress on the glutamate transporters GLAST and system xc in mouse retinal Müller glial cells

Barbara Mysona, Ying Dun, Jennifer Duplantier, Vadivel Ganapathy, Sylvia B. Smith

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

61 Scopus citations


Elevated glutamate levels have been reported in humans with diabetic retinopathy. Retinal Müller glial cells regulate glutamate levels via the GLAST transporter and system xc (cystine-glutamate exchanger). We have investigated whether transporter function and gene and/or protein expression are altered in mouse Müller cells cultured under conditions of hyperglycemia or oxidative stress (two factors implicated in diabetic retinopathy). Cells were subjected to hyperglycemic conditions (35 mM glucose) over an 8-day period or to oxidative stress conditions (induced by exposure to various concentrations of xanthine:xanthine oxidase) for 6 h. The Na+-dependent and –independent uptake of [3H] glutamate was assessed as a measure of GLAST and system xc function, respectively. Hyperglycemia did not alter the uptake of [3H] glutamate by GLAST or system xc ; neither gene nor protein expression decreased. Oxidative stress (70:14 or 100:20 μM xanthine:mU/ml xanthine oxidase) decreased GLAST activity by ~10% but increased system xc activity by 43% and 89%, respectively. Kinetic analysis showed an oxidative-stress-induced change in Vmax, but not Km. Oxidative stress caused a 2.4-fold increase in mRNA encoding xCT, the unique component of system xc . Of the two isoforms of xCT (40 and 50 kDa), oxidative stress induced a 3.6-fold increase in the 40-kDa form localized to the plasma membrane. This is the first report of the differential expression and localization of xCT isoforms as caused by cellular stress. Increased system xc activity in Müller cells subjected to conditions associated with diabetic retinopathy may be beneficial, as this exchanger is important for the synthesis of the antioxidant glutathione.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)477-488
Number of pages12
JournalCell and Tissue Research
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2009


  • Cell culture
  • Cystine-glutamate exchanger
  • Mouse (C57BL/6)
  • Transporter kinetics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Histology
  • Cell Biology


Dive into the research topics of 'Effects of hyperglycemia and oxidative stress on the glutamate transporters GLAST and system xc in mouse retinal Müller glial cells'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this