Regional in vivo superfusion of the spinal cord and KCl-induced amino acid release

David B. Masters, Frank Jordan, Barry R. Komisaruk

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

10 Scopus citations


In vivo push-pull superfusion was used to sample the regional release of amino acids into spinal superfusates of urethane-anesthetized rats. By collecting superfusates from the intrathecal space surrounding the sacral-lower thoracic spinal cord, it was possible to achieve a stable release of amino acids in one- and five-minute superfusate fractions. Introducing the depolarizing agent, potassium chloride (KCl)(40 mM), into the superfusion medium significantly increased GLU, GLY, and TAU concentrations in superfusates compared to pre-KCl values. The findings that these three amino acids were the only ones (out of 20) that showed a significant increase in response to KCl administration, suggest that they mediate neurotransmission in this region of the spinal cord. Amino acid concentrations were determined in spinal superfusates by high performance liquid chromatography (HPLC), utilizing an automated ortho-phthaldialdehyde precolumn derivatization system. The regional superfusion system described in this paper provides a technique for measuring KCl-produced release of neurochemicals that may mediate neurotransmission in delimited spinal regions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)107-112
Number of pages6
JournalPharmacology, Biochemistry and Behavior
Issue number1
StatePublished - Sep 1989

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biochemistry
  • Toxicology
  • Pharmacology
  • Clinical Biochemistry
  • Biological Psychiatry
  • Behavioral Neuroscience


  • Amino acids
  • Intrathecal space
  • Potassium stimulation
  • Push-pull superfusion
  • Regional superfusion
  • Sensory stimulation
  • Spinal cord

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