The Integrity of the Blood–Brain Barrier as a Critical Factor for Regulating Glutamate Levels in Traumatic Brain Injury

Matthew Boyko, Benjamin F. Gruenbaum, Dmitry Frank, Dmitry Natanel, Shahar Negev, Abed N. Azab, Guy Barsky, Boris Knyazer, Ora Kofman, Alexander Zlotnik

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


A healthy blood–brain barrier (BBB) shields the brain from high concentrations of blood glutamate, which can cause neurotoxicity and neurodegeneration. It is believed that traumatic brain injury (TBI) causes long-term BBB disruption, subsequently increasing brain glutamate in the blood, in addition to increased glutamate resulting from the neuronal injury. Here, we investigate the relationship between blood and brain glutamate levels in the context of BBB permeability. Rats exposed to BBB disruption through an osmotic model or TBI and treated with intravenous glutamate or saline were compared to control rats with an intact BBB treated with intravenous glutamate or saline. After BBB disruption and glutamate administration, the concentrations of glutamate in the cerebrospinal fluid and blood and brain tissue were analyzed. The results showed a strong correlation between the brain and blood glutamate concentrations in the groups with BBB disruption. We conclude that a healthy BBB protects the brain from high levels of blood glutamate, and the permeability of the BBB is a vital component in regulating levels of glutamate in the brain. These findings bring a new approach to treating the consequences of TBI and other diseases where long-term disruption of the BBB is the central mechanism of their development.

Original languageEnglish
Article number5897
JournalInternational Journal of Molecular Sciences
Issue number6
StatePublished - 1 Mar 2023


  • blood–brain barrier (BBB)
  • glutamate
  • neurotoxicity
  • rats
  • traumatic brain injury (TBI)

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Spectroscopy
  • Catalysis
  • Inorganic Chemistry
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Organic Chemistry


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