What is the neurotransmitter glutamate?
The neurotransmitter glutamate is a chemical compound, synthesized by the neurons of our body from glucose and the amino acid glutamine, which plays an important role as aneurotransmitter that consists offacilitating communications between neuronsin the CNS. (1)
Note: Glutamate withneurotransmitterfunctions should not be confused with glutamic acid, because although both have a source in amino acids, their functions are different.
Its work as a neurotransmitter is mediated by the stimulation of specific receptors, called glutamate receptors. Notably, dysfunction of glutamate receptors due to deficiency inadenosine triphosphate (ATP) transporters can lead to neuronal death.
What is the function of the neurotransmitter glutamate?
Being glutamate themain neurotransmitter of the CNS, it has several functions which we mention below:
1. Facilitates communication between neurons
The glutamate neurotransmitter is the main excitatory neurotransmitter of the CNS and is responsible for 80% of the energy consumed in the human brain .
And it is that this consumed energy is invested to create the necessary chemical transformations and produce the conditions that favor synaptic communications between presynaptic and postsynaptic cells.
To highlight: The excess accumulation of glutamate in the synaptic space Can cause serious neurological diseases and in this sense, the work of glutamate reuptake from glial cells and glutamate transporter 1 (GLT 1) is important.
2. Provides energy to the brain
It is appropriate to clarify that the brain is not capable of producing its own energy from lipids that circulate in the blood, due to a barrier that prevents the passage of these fats, to protect it from pathogens and toxins that circulate in the blood.
As we have previously mentioned, glutamate, as well as consuming 80% of the energy consumed by the brain, also provides the necessary mechanisms for energy production, doing so through glycolysis (2)and where triphosphate is also produced. adenosyne.
You should know: Glutamate controls the concentrations of ions and neurotransmitters in the extracellular space.
3. Regulates information from the senses
Glutamate, due to its particular function of of speeding up neuronal connections , organizes all the information that comes from the senses through the process of perception in the brain.
In this sense, the information used to update connects it with the existing information and the new information is stored in new neural connections.
Note : Glutamate is the main molecule that allows the the arrival of information to the brain and therefore its processing.
4. Controls the transmission of messages to the muscles and locomotor system
As we know, neurons are found in each of the parts of our body and it is known that the communication between them is through electrical impulses.
In this sense, glutamate also regulates this transmission of electrical impulses, which are nothing more than messages between the muscles and the musculoskeletal system , allowing the individual mobility and motor reaction.
To highlight: This neurotransmitter is involved in both voluntary movement such as walking, and involuntary movement such as heart rate.
5. It intervenes in the control of emotions
It has been described that the concentration of glutamate present in the neuronal connection significantly influences certain moods in individuals.
Therefore, excess glutamate in the synaptic space can cause neurological diseases, which can alter the emotions of individuals such as Alzheimer’s disease (3) , depressive states , autism (4) or multiple sclerosis. (5)
6. Boosts memory and learning
in the individual.
Likewise, it stimulates the cognitive work of short and long-term memory, since it stores more efficiently and with the least loss of the information that we perceive with the senses.
Note: The neurotransmitters glutamate and dopamine (a substance that belongs to the group of hormones of happiness ), play an important role in the processes of cognition and memory , establishing a balance between the two. (6)
7. Promotes neuroplasticity
Neuroplasticity is a property that arises from brain work and the functioning of neurons when they establish communication between them and that modulates the perception of stimuli, both those that enter and those that leave, causing adaptive behavior to new experiences or situations.
To highlight: This neuroplasticity occurs very frequently in learning processes, where glutamate is actively involved.
- The neurotransmitter glutamate is a molecule, whose function is to facilitate communications between neurons in the CNS.
- This neurotransmitter is synthesized by the neurons of our body from glucose and the amino acid glutamine.
- Glutamate function is mediated by glutamate receptors.
- This neurotransmitter consumes 80% of the energy used by the brain.