Dagmar Bauer, Kurt Hamacher, Stefan Bröer, Dirk Pauleit, Christoph Palm, Karl Zilles, Heinz H. Coenen, Karl-Josef Langen
Although it has long been presumed that d-amino acids are uncommon in mammalians, substantial amounts of free d-serine have been detected in the mammalian brain. d-Serine has been demonstrated to be an important modulator of glutamatergic neurotransmission and acts as an agonist at the strychnine-insensitive glycine site of N-methyl-d-aspartate receptors. The blood-to-brain transfer of d-serine is thought to be extremely low, and it is assumed that d-serine is generated by isomerization of l-serine in the brain. Stimulated by the observation of a preferred transport of the d-isomer of proline at the blood–brain barrier, we investigated the differential uptake of [3H]-d-serine and [3H]-l-serine in the rat brain 1 h after intravenous injection using quantitative autoradiography. Surprisingly, brain uptake of [3H]-d-serine was significantly higher than that of [3H]-l-serine, indicating a preferred transport of the d-enantiomer of serine at the blood–brain barrier. This finding indicates that exogenous d-serine may have a direct influence on glutamatergic neurotransmission and associated diseases.